World Literature in English Translation

Fall 2019 Course Offerings

The foreign language departments at UVa provide exciting courses in translation that allow students to discover new ways of thinking and seeing the world. Becoming a truly global citizen means not only acquiring a deep appreciation for different cultures, but specifically insight into the preoccupations, passions, and shared experiences of other societies. The following courses in translation offer students unique access to this knowledge. All courses are taught by specialists of the languages and cultures of inquiry.

For all classes, lectures, discussions, readings and assignments are in English. These courses may fulfill college requirements such as the Second Writing Requirement, the Humanities Requirement and the Non-Western Perspective Requirement.


East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

CHTR 3122 Sunzi and the Art of War
Mark Metcalf
Mo 3:30 - 6:00PM

This seminar on The Art of War, the pre-Imperial Chinese classic attributed to Sunzi, will familiarize students with traditional interpretations of the text. The course will emphasize a close reading of several translations of the text and will also consider the influence of its historical and philosophical contexts. Contemporary Chinese military writings will also be surveyed to investigate the relevance of the text to modern warfare.

JPTR 3010 Survey of Traditional Japanese Literature
Gustav Heldt
TuTh 2:00PM-3:15PM  
This course provides an introduction to Japanese literature from earliest times through to the nineteenth century.  We will read selections from representative texts and genres, including myth, poetry, prose fiction, memoir literature, drama, and works of criticism.  No knowledge of Japanese culture or language is required.

JPTR 3100 Myths and Legends of Japan
Gustav Heldt
We 3:30PM - 6:00PM    

A seminar exploring Japan's earliest myths describing the origins of its islands, their gods, and rulers through close readings in English of eighth-century chronicles and poems. Fulfills the Non-Western and Second Writing requirements.


FRTR 2510-001 Topics in Medieval Literature: Lives of the Saints: Murderers, prostitutes, Trans people, kings, rebellious children…all saints?
Amy Ogden
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Modern depictions of holy people often foreground their subjects' virtues and gloss over their complexities, but, historically, stories about saints highlight more than just heroic courage in the face of impossible odds: the stories (hagiography) also focus on sin and redemption and on staunch resistance to contemporary norms. Gender bending, marvelous journeys to heaven and hell, spectacular sins and helpful animals are just a few of the exciting elements authors have used to draw their audiences in.  For more sophisticated readers and listeners, they frequently offer edgy commentaries on the hot topics of their day (e.g., virginity vs. marriage) and on eternal issues (e.g., the conflicting goals of parents and children).  Focusing on one of the highpoints of hagiographic writing—Christian France in the Middle Ages—but drawing on a range of Lives, from the earliest times to the modern era and from different religious traditions, we will investigate what saints’ Lives can tell us about their culture’s theological concerns, secular interests, conceptions of history and fiction, and the quest of both ecclesiastics and lay people to fulfill their spiritual and their terrestrial responsibilities.

All readings will be in English translation and discussion will be in English.  This course may not be taken as part of the requirements for the major or minor in French.

Germanic Languages and Literatures

GETR 3372-001 German Jewish Culture and History
Gabriel Finder
TuTh 12:30PM - 1:45PM

This course provides a wide-ranging exploration of the culture, history and thought of German Jewry from 1750 to 1939.  It focuses  on the Jewish response to modernity in Central Europe and the lasting transformations in Jewish life in Europe and later North America. Readings of such figures as: Moses Mendelssohn, Heinrich Heine, Rahel Varnhagen, Franz Kafka, Gershom Scholem, Martin Buber, Karl Marx, Rosa Luxembourg, Walter Benjamin, and Freud.

GETR 3505-001 Hitler
Manuela Achilles
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Explores the relationship between facts and fiction in the representation of the past. Course materials range from archival sources and scholarly articles to novels, films, paintings, sculptures, poems and other creative articulations of the historical imagination. The role of the new media and media analysis in the representation of history will also be examined. Topics vary annually.

GETR 3590-002 Medieval Stories of Love and Adventure
William McDonald
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Joseph Campbell––and more! Trace the origin of The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones: Encounter the stories that inspired Richard Wagner. Follow the hero and heroines of medieval fiction through the steps of the heroic quest: the call to adventure, meeting the mentor, tests and trials, symbolic death and rebirth, the road back, and return with a societal boon. Among the stories read are Parzival and Tristan and Isolde. Grade is based on classroom discussion, oral reports, and a final paper. No final examination. No textbook required.  

GETR 3692 The Holocaust
Gabriel Finder
TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM  
This course aims to clarify basic facts and explore competing explanations for the origins and unfolding of the Holocaust--the encounter between the Third Reich and Europe's Jews between 1933 and 1945 that resulted in the deaths of almost six million Jews.

GETR 3720 Freud and Literature
Lorna Martens
TuTh 3:30PM - 4:45PM
In formulating his model of the psyche and his theory of psychoanalysis, Freud availed himself of analogies drawn from different disciplines, including literature.  Freud's ideas were then taken up by many twentieth-century literary writers.  After introducing Freud's theories through a reading of his major works, the course will turn to literary works that engage with Freud.

Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures

ARTR 3350  Introduction to Arab Women's Literature    
Suja Sawafta
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM

A comprehensive overview of contemporary Arab women's literature, this course examines all Arab women's literary genres starting from personal letters, memoirs, speeches, poetry, fiction, drama, to journalistic articles and interviews. Selected texts cover various geographic locales and theoretical perspectives. Special emphasis will be given to the issues of Arab female authorship, subjectivity theory, and to the question of Arab Feminism.

ARTR 3559-001 Masterpieces - Classc Islam World
Nizar Hermes
Tu 3:30PM - 6:00PM

Slavic Languages and Literatures

RUTR 2350 Russian and East European Film
Stanley Stepanic
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15PM

This course is an introduction to and overview of the history of film in Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Russia, though we will be discussing other countries that were once part of the Soviet Bloc. We will be covering a variety of films, long and short, as well as animation, and how these works of art reflect the time periods in which they were created.

RUTR 2460 Introduction to Russian Culture and Civilization
Edith Clowes
MoWe 5:00PM - 6:15PM

No knowledge of Russian needed. Investigates 'being Russian' through the works of Russia's great writers, artists, architects, and composers. Focuses on the heroes, heroines, and villains, symbols, legends, and rituals central to Russian creativity.

RUTR 2740 Tolstoy in Translation
David Herman
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies the major works of Tolstoy.

RUTR 3350 Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature
Julian Connolly
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM

Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies the major works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and others. Emphasizes prose fiction. This course is a prerequisite for 5000-level literature courses.

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

ITTR 3559-003 TV and Web Series in Italy and the Globe: Gender, Sex and Society
Francesca Calamita
MoWe 3:30PM-4:45PM

This course focuses on representations of sex, gender and social issues in recent Italian TV and web series, including My Brilliant Friend (2018), based on the 2011 novel of the same title by the acclaimed writer Elena Ferrante, and the political-drama Berlusconi 1992 (2015). Students will also work on current series produced in other countries which have made an impact in Italy, such as The Handmaid’s Tale (2017), based on the 1985 feminist dystopian novel of the same title by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, and the Danish comedy-drama Rita (2012). Lectures and materials explore from a global perspective how TV and web series offer their viewers narratives that encourage them to follow or question different models of femininity, masculinity and sexuality. Class discussion will pay particular attention to issues of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, social class, migration and citizenship status, among other layers of identity.  What can contemporary Italian TV and web series tell us about current social issues from around the globe?

ITTR 3880 Reinventing Dante: Influence, Adaptation and Transformation
Deborah Parker
TuTh 3:30PM - 4:45PM

Dante's Inferno has captivated the imagination of artists as diverse as Botticelli, Milton, Keats, and David Fincher. Artists, writers and filmmakers re-imagine Dante for their own purposes. This course will explore reinventions of Dante's Inferno, the most enduring vision of the afterlife that has ever been created.

ITTR 4010 Narrating (Un)-sustainability
Enrico Cesaretti
TuTh 12:30PM-1:45PM

This course focuses on the potential narratives have to convey messages that are relevant to our ethical and environmental awareness, and to help us imagine alternatives to existing systems of knowledge and distributions of power.  We shall learn about the origins and general objectives of ecocriticism, its relevant theories and methodologies, and various approaches to the notion of sustainability.

ITTR 4820 - 001   Italian Pop Culture From the 1960s to the Present    
Enrico Cesaretti
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM

This course examines the cultural and socio-political transformations that took place in Italy during its recent history.  By discussing different cultural artifacts (films, essays, literature), we shall ultimately try to answer the following questions : does Italy still have space for works that resist populist and consumer culture? What are the ethical and political consequences of Italy's present culutral condition? Is there an Italian identity?

SPTR 3850 Fiction of the Americas
Gustavo Pellon
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15PM

In this seminar, we will study the centuries long 'conversations' between North American and Spanish American writers.  Principally through short stories and some novels, we will examine their mutual fascination.  Our reading list will include works by Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Horacio Quiroga, John Reed, Mariano Azuela, William Faulkner, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Margaret Atwood, Manuel Puig.