World Literature in English Translation

Spring 2018 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.

African-American and African Studies

AAS 3500-004 Early Caribbean Writing (3)
Marlene Zaka
TuTh 9:30AM-10:45AM

This course will exam nineteenth-century writing (in translation, where applicable) by people of color from the Anglophone, Francophone, and Hispanophone islands that make up the Caribbean. Haitian independence in 1804 ushered in a vibrant and diverse print culture that included poetry, plays, newspapers, and historical writing. From the pages of La Gazette Royale d’Hayti (1811-1820), to the poems of Jean-Baptiste Romane (1807-1858), to the historical writings of Louis-Félix Boisrond-Tonnerre (1776-1806), to the operas of Juste Chanlatte (1766-1828), there arose a distinct nineteenth-century literary culture in Haiti. Beginning with national literary developments in Haiti, this course expands to consider nineteenth writing from Barbados, Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, Antigua, and Bermuda.  These writings, both fictional and non-fictional, will help us to think about whether and/or how a coherent Caribbean literary tradition was developed in the nineteenth century across geographical, linguistic, national, and indeed, imperial lines.


CLAS 2020 Roman Civilization (3)
Bradford Hays
TuTh 12:30PM-1:45PM

This course serves as a general introduction to the history, literature, social life, institutions, and ideology of ancient Rome, from the origins to the 2nd century AD. We will look especially at the ways in which the Romans constructed a collective cultural identity for themselves, with attention paid also to groups marginal to or excluded from that identity (e.g. women, slaves, barbarians). Readings will focus on the ancient texts and sources, including the comedies of Plautus and Terence, Vergil’s epic Aeneid, historical writing by Sallust and Tacitus, biographies by Plutarch and Suetonius, the love poetry of Ovid, and Petronius’s novel Satyrica.

CLAS 2040 Greek Mythology (3)
John Miller
MW 10:00AM-10:50AM

An introduction to the myths of the ancient Greek (and, to a lesser extent, Roman) gods and heroes; to modern approaches to the study of myths (historical, religious, psychological, anthropological, etc.); to the reception of classical myths in later ages; and to adaptations of myths in selected Greek and Roman literary texts.

East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

CHTR 3010 Survey of Traditional Chinese Literature (3)
Mark Metcalf
MW 3:30PM-4:45PM

Introductory survey of Chinese literature from earliest times (first millenium BCE) to the Qing Dynasty (ended 1911) in English translation, including major works from the genres of poetry, essays, drama, and fiction. There will be a midterm examination, three 3-page short papers and a 10-page term paper. In addition to familiarizing students with the Chinese literary canon, the course will focus on literary analysis and interpretation.

CHTR 3840 Wrtiing Women in Modern China (3)
Charles Laughlin
Tu 3:30PM-6:00PM

This seminar focuses on works of fiction from modern China that articulate womanhood from a variety of perspectives. In addition to women writers (Qiu Jin, Ding Ling, Eileen Chang, Xi Xi,  Chen Ran, Zhu Tianxin), male writers such as Xu Dishan, Mao Dun, and Lao She who devote unusual attention to feminine subjectivity are also included. Familiarity with Chinese culture and society and literary analysis are preferred, but not required.

CHTR 3559/5559 (New Chinese Literature Course in Translation): Winning the Argument - Philosophical Disputation and Political Persuasion in Early China (3)
Mark Metcalf

MW 5:00PM-6:15PM
The Spring & Autumn and Warring States eras (1st millennium BCE) were arguably the most volatile periods in early Chinese history. As the social situation became increasingly unstable, various specialists proposed a range of philosophical, political, and military solutions for putting an end to the chaos. A crucial element to their success was an ability to convince others of the correctness of what they were proposing. This course analyzes writings from this period to consider:
· The views of key Chinese thinkers (such as Confucius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, and others) regarding the appropriate and inappropriate uses of speech.
· The distinctive rhetorical approaches used by these philosophers to argue their positions.
· The persuasive techniques adopted by military & political advisors of the period; methods that allowed them to provide straightforward guidance to rulers without (literally!) losing their heads.
Class will meet on Tuesday afternoons from 3:30-6:00pm. Active participation in classroom discussions will be expected and four 5-page essays (or one Capstone paper) will be assigned during the semester. Contact the instructor, Prof. Metcalf (, for further information.

JPTR 3020 Survey of Modern Japanese Literature (3)
Miyabi Goto
TuTh 2:00PM-3:15PM

A gateway to the rich, diverse modern Japanese literary tradition, from the early 1900s to the present, this course adopts socio-cultural and gender perspectives in the context of world literature.

JPTR 3210 The Tale of Genji (3)
Gustav Heldt
Tu 3:30-6:00PM

A seminar devoted to an in-depth examination in English translation of Japan's most renowned work of literature, often called the world's first novel. Satisfies the Non-Western and Second Writing requirements.

JPTR 3559-001 Japanese Popular Culture (3)
Miyabi Goto
M 3:30PM-6:00PM


CPLT/ENGL 2020 History of European Literature II (3)
Paul Cantor
TuTh 12:30PM-1:45PM

This course surveys European literature from the seventeenth century to the twentieth.  Although it builds upon work in CPLT 2010, 2020 is a self-contained course and can certainly be taken by students who have not taken 2010.  As a course in literary history, it seeks to develop an understanding of period concepts, such as “Romantic” and “modern,” as well as concepts of genre, such as “the novel.” Among the topics to be discussed are the rise of the novel, the nature of the Enlightenment, the Romantic revolution in poetry, the new role of women in literature, responses to revolution and imperialism, nihilism and modern literature, and the issue of postmodernism.  Readings include (sometimes in the form of selections) Tartuffe, Robinson Crusoe, Candide, Faust, Persuasion, Wuthering Heights, Notes from Underground, and Waiting for Godot, as well as poetry by Blake, T. S. Eliot, and Rilke and short stories by Kafka. All foreign language works will be read in English translation.  Two lectures and one section meeting per week.  Requirements:  three papers and a final examination, as well as regular attendance and participation in discussion sections.  The course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement, and 3 hours of it can be counted toward the English major under the “literature in translation” option; under the ENGL 2020 rubric, it can be used in lieu of an ENLT course as the pre-requisite for the English major.


FRTR 2552-002 French Culture: Choice and Sexuality (3)
Holly Runde
MW 3:30PM-4:45PM

In both the United States and France, questions about the reproductive and sexual body continue to be some of the most sensitive and divisive social issues of our day. Though both countries legalized abortion in roughly the same year, American women today do not have equal access to the procedure as do their French counterparts. American royalty Kim Kardashian-West announced her third pregnancy via surrogacy, which remains illegal in France. The marriage of the newly-elected French president to a woman over 20 years his senior has led many to question how their relationship would be viewed were their ages reversed (as is the case of the new American president and his wife) – questions the French president himself has attributed to “homophobia” and “misogyny”. These difficult issues bring us to consider how literature and film might shape real world attitudes about sexuality and reproduction. This course explores such questions through contemporary French literature and film, as we use France as a laboratory through which to think about the ways questions such as these might apply to our own communities. This course will introduce and familiarize you with French literature and film via its representation of the reproductive and sexual body. The works selected will give you a broad understanding of both French culture and of the evolving representations of sexuality and reproduction in literature and film.

FRTR 2552-002 French Culture: Bon appetit! Food in French Literature, Film, and Culture (3)
Jessie Labadie
MW 2:00PM-3:15PM

This course will offer a transhistoric and interdisciplinary approach to French culture through the lens of food. France has long been associated with haute cuisine and gustatory pleasure. We will consider examples of the French eating and talking about eating in fiction and non-fiction texts, as well as in contemporary French cinema. Questions we will consider include: What does food mean to the French? What is it about the specificity of French food that makes it so important, both to the French and to the rest of the world? What can representations of food in literature and film tell us about French national identity? What do the French mean when they talk about a food’s terroir? All readings and discussions will be in English. This course may not be taken as part of the requirements for the major or minor in French. This course fulfills the second writing requirement.

FRTR 2580 French and Francophone Culture (3)
Kaiama Glover
TuTh 11:00AM–12:15PM

A developing nation known for its seemingly never-ending social and political struggles, the Republic of Haiti was born of and has long been marked by violence. Yet despite this violence, in spite of it, or perhaps to spite it – Haiti writes. Over the course of this semester students will examine major works of Haitian prose fiction and so explore the socio-political and aesthetic realities that inform Haitian literature, past and present.

FRTR 3814 Gender & Sexuality in Pre-modern France (3)
Deborah McGrady
TuTh 12:30PM– 1:45PM

Pre-modern society was as concerned about questions of identity as we are today: What is the relationship between nature and nurture in shaping identity? What role should gender play in fixing social and intimate roles? Can the law regulate sexuality? This course will explore religious, social, scientific and legal views on gender, sexuality and identity in medieval France. Readings include literary texts (plays, short stories, romance) and cultural documents (philosophical and political tracts, trial records, conduct books and memoirs). Through these readings, students will discover how werewolves, mermaids, castrated men, women warriors, and submissive knights challenged society to rethink identity. These medieval cases will be examined in light of recent approaches in sexuality and gender studies, and thus a second aim of the course is to explore how placing in dialogue current theoretical questions and past socio-historical realities can lead to fruitful insights.

Germanic Languages and Literatures

GETR 3372 German Jewish Culture and History (3)
Gabriel Finder
Jeffery Grossman
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 3390 Nazi Germany (3)
Manuela Achilles
MW 10:00AM-10:50AM

Detailed survey of the historical origins, political structures, cultural dynamics, and every-day practices of the Nazi Third Reich. Cross listed in the history department. Taught in English.

GETR 3420 German Intellectual History From Nietzsche to the Present (3)
Volker Kaiser
MWF 1:00PM-1:50PM

Readings in philosophical and social history of Germany from the late 19th century onward.

GETR 3462 Neighbors and Enemies (3)
Manuela Achilles
MW 2:00PM-3:15PM

Explores the friend/foe nexus in German history, literature and culture, with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries.  For more details on this class, please visit the department website.

GETR 3470 Literature of the Holocaust (3)
Rebekah Slodounik
TuTh 3:30PM-4:45PM

Introduces the most significant texts of Holocaust literature and surveys important philosophical and historical reflections on the meaning of the Holocaust.

GETR 3590-001 Reporters at War (3)
Ms. Riedle
TuTh 11:00AM-12:15AM

It is crucial that journalists continue to report on global crises, from places where daily life can be complicated, difficult, and dangerous. With the journalist and writer Gabriele Riedle, students will explore a variety of texts, photographs, and documentary films—from Ernest Hemingway’s reports from the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s to the Magnum Photo Agency’s ongoing documentation of conflicts.

Informed by Riedle’s extensive experience reporting from crisis regions, the course will grapple with the practical, ethical, and representational questions raised by such journalism: What is life like for journalists “in the field”? How can they continue to work while staying safe? What different genres and media are available to cover wars, armed conflicts, and humanitarian or political crises? Is objectivity possible, especially in cases when a reporter is embedded with an army? How can journalists avoid sensationalizing crisis or portraying themselves as heroes?

Requirements include regular attendance and preparation, participation, writing assignments, and a final project.

GETR 3590-002 Crime Pays, Literature, Film, Reality (3)
Benjamin Bennett
MWF 11:00AM-11:50AM

Modern societies cannot exist without crime, because crime—as a violation of true social norms, not merely acknowledged norms—serves both to mark exactly where those norms are and to make possible any real social change (the more extreme the crime, the more radical the possible change).  Intellectuals imagine themselves capable of understanding and eventually changing society, but only criminals carry out that work in reality.  A number of important texts, in German, British, American, and Russian literature, from the nineteenth century to the present, will be read with a view to understanding the social operation of crime.  Authors will include E.T.A. Hoffmann, Heinrich von Kleist, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Joseph Conrad, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Margery Allingham, Herman Melville, and Dashiell Hammett.  The tradition of crime films from Rififi willalso be discussed.  Examinations will be used only to check up on the reading.  Grading will be based mainly on the two written exercises (one short essay at midterm, one longer final paper) and on participation in class discussion).

GETR 3559-003 The Uncanny: Literature, Psychoanalysis, Film (3)
Volker Kaiser
M 3:30PM-6:00PM

In this seminar we will explore the relationship between literature, the various phenomena of the uncanny in literature (phobic figures like the double, the alien, death, technology etc.), and the traces which it left in the field of literary criticism.  When Freud published his famous essay on “The Uncanny” in 1919, he was not only able to draw on a series of uncanny texts from the 19th century, but he was also writing under the impression of the haunting, traumatic effects of the catastrophic first World War, thus giving a historical index to the phenomenon of the uncanny.  Using Freud as a pivotal analytical figure, we will first read texts from the 19th century (authors include Poe, Stoker, Wilde, ETA Hoffmann, Gotthelf, Nietzsche and others) and then contemplate upon the trajectory of the uncanny in 20th century art, film (among others Coppola’s “Dracula” and Lynch’s “Blue Velvet”), and criticism. If time permits, we can also explore the role of ghosts, specters and the uncanny in certain writings of Karl Marx, in particular in the 18th Brumaire.

There are no prerequisites for this course. Regular attendance is required. Students will give class presentations (group work is encouraged) and write two papers (8-10 pages).

GETR 3695 The Holocaust and the Law (3)
Gabriel Finder
TuTh 9:30AM-10:45AM

This course explores the pursuit of legal justice after the Holocaust. Study of legal responses to the Nazi genocide of Europe's Jews in Europe, Israel, and the United States from the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust to the present.  Focus on the Nuremberg, Eichmann Trial, Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials, among others. The course ask how the pursuit of legal justice after the Holocaust affects our understanding of the legal process.

GETR 3750 Women, Childhood, Autobiography (3)
Lorna Martens
TuTh 11:00AM-12:15PM

Cross-cultural readings in women's childhood narratives.  Emphasis on formal as well as thematic aspects.  For more details on this class, please visit the department website.

GETR 3760 Ways of Telling Stories: Eighteenth-Century Fiction (3)
Lorna Martens
TuTh 2:00PM-3:15PM

Comparative studies in the European novel.  Dominant novel types, including the fictional memoir, the novel in letters, and the comic "history."

Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures

PETR 3559-002 The Challenges of Democracy in Iran (3)
Megrangiz Kar

Mo 3:30-6:00PM
This course discusses the challenges of establishing democracy in contemporary Iran. While the focus is on post-1979 Revolution, we will begin with a historical review beginning with the 1906 constitutional revolution. We will analyze not only the historical and the political but also the social and cultural obstacles to democracy that have deep roots in Iranian history.

We 3:30-6:00pm

A survey of lyric poetry, epic, romance, history, and religious thought of classical Persian, the literary language of the Islamic world from the Middle East to South Asia, including Rumi, Hafez, Omar Khayyam, and more. No knowledge of Persian required!

Slavic Languages and Literatures

RUTR 2350 Russian and Soviet Film: Movies for the Masses (3)
Stanley Stepnaic
MW 2:00PM-3:15PM

An exploration of Soviet and Russian Cinema as artistic medium, industrial product, ideological and political tool, and means of entertainment. This course devotes equal consideration to popular classics as well as the critically acclaimed masterpieces of russian film in order to engage questions of history theory, and aesthetics within broader cultural currents. For more details on this class, please visit the department website at:

RUTR 2470 Understanding Russia: Symbols, Myths, and Archetypes of Identity (3)
Yuri Urbanovich
MW 2:00PM-3:15PM

This course explores different sources of Russian national identity from pre-Christian `Rus' to the present. We will investigate how the occidental and oriental elements blend into a unique Euro-Asian culture, nation, and world power. Our main aim is to provide an orientation to the symbolic world of Russian self-identification. We will employ the tools of the historian, geographer, psychologist, and student of literature and culture.

RUTR 2730 Dostoevsky (3)
Julian Connolly
TuTh 11:00AM-11:50AM (plus discussion)  
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies the major works of Dostoevsky.

RUTR 3340 Books Behind Bars: Life, Literature, & Community Leadership (4)
Andrew Kaufman
Th 12:30PM-1:45PM

Students will grapple in a profound and personal way with timeless human questions: Who am I? Why am I here? How should I live? They will do this, in part, by facilitating discussions about short masterpieces of Russian literature with residents at a juvenile correctional center. This course offers an integrated academic-community engagement curriculum, and provides a unique opportunity for service learning, leadership, and youth mentoring..

RUTR 3360 Twentieth Centruy Russian Literature (3)
Edith Clowes
MW 5:00PM-6:15PM

This course surveys Russian literature (prose and poetry) of the twentieth century.  Readings include works by Soviet and émigré writers.  All works are read in English translation.

RUTR 3400 Nabokov (3)
Julian Connolly
TuTh 2:00PM-3:15PM

Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies the evolution of Nabokov's art, from his early Russian language tales to the major novels written in English.

RUTR 3510 Topics in Russian Literature (3)
Julian Connolly
TuTh 11:00AM-11:50AM (plus discussion)

Studies in English translation of selected authors, works, or themes in Russian literature. Topics in recent years were Solzhenitsyn, Nabokov.

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

ITTR 2260 Dante in Translation (3)
Deborah Parker
MW 2:00PM-3:15PM

Close reading of Dante's masterpiece, The Inferno. Lectures focus on Dante's social, political, and cultural world. Incorporates The World of Dante: A Hypermedia Archive for the Study of the Inferno, and a pedagogical and research website (, that offers a wide range of visual material related to The Inferno.

ITTR/WGS 3680 Foodscapes in Women’s Writing (3)
Francesca Calamita
MW 11:00AM

This course explores how Italian women writers have represented food in their short stories, novels and autobiographies in dialogue with the culture and society from late nineteenth century to the present. Looking how cooking and serving meals to others, while denying themselves the pleasure of eating, are depicted in Italian women’s writing helps us understand the role food and food-related-activities have played, and still play, in women’s lives. These lectures will offer a close reading of the symbolic meaning of food in narrative and the way it intersects with Italian women’s socio-cultural history and the feminist movement, addressing issues of gender, identity and politics of the body.

ITTR 3690 Mafiosi vs Goodfellas: Organized Crime on Film in Italy & the USA (3)
Sarah Annunziato
MWF 1:00PM-1:50PM  
Organized crime has long fascinated filmmakers from both Italy and the USA. But, how does each country portray this phenomenon and its effects on law, politics, and the individual? What socio-cultural and historical factors explain the different presentations? In this course, we will examine these questions through discussion and analysis of films from Italy and the United States, primary source documents, and novels.