1999-2000 Interdisciplinary Program in Literary Studies

1999-2000 Bulletin Entry for:

Interdisciplinary Program in Literary Studies

(file last updated: [7/6/1999 - 13:18:23])

Comparative Literature, French, German, Russian, and Spanish


The Interdisciplinary Program in Literary Studies offers uniquely flexible M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. It aims to equip its graduates with knowledge, skills, and insights that are wide-ranging and individualized, according to the specific needs and interests of the student.

The program seeks to ensure that each graduate student is rooted in one traditional literary area (French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Latin American, or comparative literature), but with special emphasis placed on the interdisciplinary, comparative perspective.

IPLS students conduct roughly one third of their course work in other areas (such as English and American literature, history, women's studies, music, politics, fine arts, philosophy, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, sociology, theater arts). The IPLS advisory board includes a member from each of these departments and programs.

The degree will be in Interdisciplinary Literary Studies.

The program also offers an M.A. in Translation or a Certificate in Translation.

How To Be Admitted to the Graduate Program

The general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, given in an earlier section of this Bulletin, apply to candidates for admission to the Interdisciplinary Program in Literary Studies. Candidates should have a bachelor's degree in American, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, or Russian literature/language, and must demonstrate an advanced level of proficiency in at least one foreign language upon entry. Candidates are required to submit a 35-page sample of their critical writing. The sample may consist of a single critical essay or two shorter essays of approximately equal length.

Students who apply for the M.A. degree translation program or the certificate program in translation must hold a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. Students accepted into the program may attend on a full- or part-time basis. Qualifications for acceptance into either program will be based on an undergraduate study of literature and foreign languages and on submission of samples of previous translation work. Applicants should provide a statement of purpose and evidence of strong competence in both English and the language of proficiency.


Roxanne Dávila

Nineteenth- and 20th-century Latin American literature. Urban spaces. Cultural geography. Art and literature. The Avant-garde. Literary theory and cultural studies.

Stephen Dowden (German)

German modernism. Romanticism. The Novel: Kafka, Bernhard, Thomas Mann, Broch, Musil, Goethe. Austrian literature.

Eberhard Frey (German)

Eighteenth-, 19th- and 20th-century German literature. German and general stylistics.

Dian Fox (Spanish)

Spanish 16th- and 17th-century drama, prose, and poetry. Cervantes.

Stephen Gendzier (French)

Enlightenment. Diderot. French-English 18th-century crosscurrents.

Jane Hale (French)

Twentieth-century French fiction and drama. Beckett. Queneau. Literature and painting. Francophone literatures.

Erica Harth (French)

Seventeenth- and 18th-century French prose. Cultural studies and comparative literature. Feminism and gender studies.

Edward Kaplan (French)

French romanticism. Michelet. Hugo. Modern French poetry and theory. Baudelaire. Jabès. Bonnefoy. Religion and literature. Translation.

Richard Lansing (Italian)

Dante. Italian and European Renaissance courtly tradition. Modern Italian literature. Literary theory and criticism.

James Mandrell (Spanish)

Modern Spanish literature. Don Juan. Picaresque and historical novel. Genre and gender. Film.

Robin Feuer Miller (Russian)

Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Nineteenth-century Russian literature and comparative literature. The Novel. Reader-response criticism.

Alan Mintz (Hebrew)

Hebrew literature. Modern Jewish culture. Holocaust literature. Cultural criticism.

Angela María Pérez (Spanish)

Colonial Latin American literature. Film and literature. Cultural studies. Race and gender.

Michael Randall (French)

French Renaissance. Middle Ages literature. Philosophy. Politics.

Robert Szulkin (Russian)

Nineteenth- and 20th-century Russian literature. Soviet literature.

Luis Yglesias (Spanish)

Traditional, modern, and contemporary poetry. Native American literature. Folklore and myth.

The following faculty members are available for advice in interdisciplinary matters:

Pamela Allara (Fine Arts)

Rudolph Binion (History)

Thomas Doherty (American Studies)

Erica Harth (Romance and Comparative Literature)

Arthur Holmberg (Theater Arts)

Mark Hulliung (History)

Robert Marshall (Music)

Alan Mintz (Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Paul Morrison (English)

George Ross (Sociology)

David Wong (Philosophy)

Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

A. One year of full-time study in residence. Students are required to take a four course load per semester.

B. Completion of either a thesis (a scholarly paper of between 50 and 80 pages), or a substantial revision and expansion of two seminar papers. Such written work will be read by the student's principal advisor and at least one other faculty member. The student need not be in residence at the time of writing the thesis.

Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Translation

A. One year of full-time study in residence or its equivalent, without any unresolved incompletes.

B. Two seminars in the theory and practice of translation or the equivalent.

C. One semester course in the theory of literary criticism.

D. Two semester courses in the literature of the target language.

E. One semester course in texts and sight translation. This may be an independent study course.

F. One elective course in the student's specialization.

G. A major translation project consisting of a translation of a collection of poems or short stories, a novel or drama, or a non-literary text of a critical nature of suitable length. The translation should be accompanied by an introduction locating the work within its appropriate context and identifying the procedures and techniques employed in resolving translation difficulties.

Requirements for the Certificate in Translation

The requirements for the certificate in translation are the same as those for the M.A. in translation with the exception that no major translation project is required.

Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Program of Study

Required courses for Ph.D. students usually include an introduction to critical methods, all IPLS seminars, Language Teaching Methodology, and two semesters of the IPLS Faculty Seminar. The latter are offered annually with variable topics (LS 200b, Movements, Genres, and Major Figures, LS 260a and b, IPLS Faculty Seminar).

The principal national literature will demand the candidate's most systematic scrutiny. From the perspective of finding academic employment it is crucial that the candidate be fully competent in that literature and its language. This means that the student must be well versed in major figures, works, and movements, with a specialist's knowledge of at least one period.

Interdisciplinary course work should support and enrich the student's critical perspective. For example, a student interested in German romanticism would naturally gravitate toward course work in Rousseau, in Idealist philosophy, in Beethoven and Wagner, in 19th-century French and German history, and so forth. The details of an individual program of study will be worked out with the student's advisors.

Residence Requirement

Three years beyond the undergraduate degree are the minimum for the Ph.D. Those who arrive with an M.A. already completed will be credited with one year toward residency. A year in residence normally comprises eight courses, four each semester (usually fewer for TAs). At least one, and no more than three, of these courses should be in fields outside the major literature. Tutorials (301-307) serve to fill gaps in knowledge where no suitable 100-level course is available. The course load of eight per year is subject to variation. Teaching assistants reduce their course load in proportion to their teaching load.

Language Requirement

Near native mastery of the student's principal foreign language; and reading competency in two supporting languages.


Teaching is normally expected of every IPLS student in the Ph.D. program. It is an intrinsic component of the educational process, parallel to academic work, and it is the bread and butter of any career in language and literature, as well as a source of financial aid. In most cases students begin teaching in the second year of residence. The program's pedagogy course (LS 222b Applied Linguistics: Language Teaching Methodology) is a required course and should be taken in the first year. Students entering with an M.A. in hand and previous teaching experience may teach in the first semester, but may be required to take LS 222b as well.

The normal teaching load is two courses per year, which may include a USEM writing section (University Seminars in the Humanities). However, each language has variable needs, and students in some areas may have fewer opportunities for the maximum load.

Qualifying and General Examination

The qualifying examination is a comprehensive written and oral exam taken at the beginning of the student's third semester. Afterwards the examining committee will write a letter to the student either giving or denying permission to proceed in the program. Only those students whose first-year record is complete and satisfactory will be permitted to present themselves for examination. The student may not postpone it.

The Ph.D. general examination occurs in the student's third year of study. It occurs twice each year, either in October or in May, and is individually prepared and scheduled for each student. These examinations are based on the program's prescribed reading lists, available in Shiffman 108. Careful consultation with advisors is essential in preparation for the exam, which consists of three written sections and an oral exam.

The first session (three hours) is an examination of the depth and breadth of the student's primary national literature.

The second session (three hours) focuses on a period to be selected by the student and must emphasize interdisciplinary perspectives in the approach to that period.

The third session (three hours) is dedicated to literary or theoretical works of the student's choosing (though not from the period examined in the second session). Normally two substantial texts (novels, plays, poetry cycles, or other major works) are expected. Again, the student is expected to bring interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise to bear.

The oral examination (one to two hours) begins with the candidate's analysis (ca. 30 minutes) of a text chosen by the committee and given to the student 24 hours in advance of the exam. A discussion of the presentation and some of the written exam will ensue. At the end of the oral exam, the student will be asked to leave the room so that the committee can consider the exam as a whole. The student will be called back in to be informed whether or not the performance has been satisfactory, or whether he or she must re-take a portion of the exam. The chair of the examining committee will also write a final letter to the candidate, evaluating the exam as a whole. One copy of this report will be kept on file in the IPLS office.

Dissertation and Defense

Within one year of the general examination, the student becomes ABD (all but dissertation) by completing all coursework, satisfying the residency requirement, language requirement, and dissertation prospectus. The prospectus is a ca. five-to-20-page document and is to be submitted to the student's dissertation committee (the principal advisor and at least two other faculty members) for approval and will be signed by the IPLS chair. The prospectus reviews previous research into the proposed topic, defines objectives and the critical methods to be used. It also justifies the dissertation by clarifying the nature of its contribution to the field. A bibliography, both primary and secondary, is required.

The prospectus will become a part of the student's file. When it is complete and the other conditions have been met, the chair will recommend the student to the Graduate School for Admission to Candidacy. It is a Graduate School policy that at least one semester must elapse before a degree can be awarded. Students cannot receive funding if the prospectus has not been approved by the beginning of the fourth year of residence. It is Graduate School policy that the dissertation must be completed within eight years from the start of graduate study (seven years for those who enter with an M.A. in hand).

The dissertation is customarily between 200 and 300 pages, though no length is set as a requirement. Consult the Graduate School for specific guidelines for preparation. When the principal advisor is satisfied, the manuscript must be read by at least two other faculty members whom the IPLS chair has approved. As soon as all readers have been approved and that approval has been certified by the Graduate School, an oral defense will be scheduled. Two copies of the finished manuscript will be available for inspection at the IPLS office at least two weeks in advance of the defense. The time and place of the defense will be publicly announced.

The defense is an oral examination. The dissertation committee and at least one faculty member from outside IPLS will discuss with the student the thesis and related topics. The fourth committee member may be a specialist from outside the University. The defense usually lasts about two hours, and at its conclusion the candidate will be informed that the dissertation has or has not been accepted, that it does or does not require revisions before final approval. Two corrected copies of the dissertation must be deposited with the Graduate School office for the University Library, which is the final step in the dissertation process.

Courses of Instruction

(200 and above) Primarily for Graduate Students

LS 200b Movements, Genres, and Major Figures: Modernism

Explores continental European modernism, especially from the perspective of formal innovation, gender, mass culture, and canon formation. Readings include Proust, Benjamin, Broch, Beckett, Yourcenar, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Gombrowicz, Bruno Schulz, Musil, and Céline. Usually offered every third year. Last offered in the spring of 1998.

Mr. Dowden

LS 202b Fiction: Theory and Practice

Consulting a variety of texts ranging from paleolithic caves through Homer to Rilke, this course seeks to understand what role the imagination plays in what we perceive as real. Usually offered in even years.

Mr. Yglesias

LS 204a Theory and Practice of Literary Translation

A consideration from a variety of perspectives of issues relating to the translation of texts--primarily literary texts--to English. Combines theoretical views with the actual practice of translation. Usually offered in even years.


LS 204b Theory and Practice of Literary Translation

Further consideration of issues relating to the translation of literary texts to English. Continuation of LS 204a. Usually offered in odd years.


LS 209a Modern Phenomena

Usually offered in odd years.


LS 215a Poetry, Criticism, and Modernity: Baudelaire and His Contemporaries

Usually offered every fourth year. Last offered in the fall of 1990.

Mr. Kaplan

LS 217a Russian Prose Forms and the European Tradition

Focuses on three major Russian novels of the 19th century--Dead Souls, War and Peace, and the Brothers Karamazov--in the double context of the novel in Europe and current critical theory. According to their own interests, students will draw additional readings primarily from the work of Cervantes, Diderot, Rousseau, Sterne, Maturin, and George Eliot.

Ms. Miller

LS 218b Topics in Genre and Gender

An exploration of the interrelated topics of genre and gender in the context of a specific fictional genre, such as the picaresque, historical fiction, utopian and/or dystopian fictions, or detective fiction. Usually offered in even years.


LS 219b Postromantic and Postmodern Fictions and Theory

Close reading of short fictions (fables, parables, prose poems, stories) by Baudelaire, Kafka, Borges, which themselves question their status as literature. The thematic relation of ethics and imagination (for example, irony versus compassion) will be emphasized. Examined also is contemporary theory of Romanticism, Modernism, and the post-modern, with special attention to deconstruction: e.g., Paul de Man on symbol, allegory, and irony. Usually offered every fourth year. Last offered in the spring of 1996.

Mr. Kaplan

LS 220a Modes of Narrative: Epic and Romance

Departs from The Odyssey and examines texts from the medieval and Renaissance periods, tracing the journey motif and the development of related epic and romance structures and conceptions. Typical works include Chrétien's Yvain, Dante's Purgatorio, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, selected romances from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Ariosto's Orlando furioso, Cervantes' Don Quixote, and Joyce's Ulysses. Usually offered in even years.

Mr. Lansing

LS 221b Renaissance Literature: Divine and Literary Creation

Investigates the relationship between the literary text and the epistemological context of the Renaissance. Although devoted most specifically to the Renaissance, writers and philosophers from the Middle Ages and from the 17th century are examined to show what contributed to these issues in the 16th century and how they were developed later. Writers include Dante, Aquinas, Ockham, Boccaccio, Rabelais, Montaigne, Ficino, Descartes. Usually offered every fourth year. Last offered in the spring of 1996.

Mr. Randall

LS 222b Applied Linguistics: Language Teaching Methodology

The goal of this course is to train teaching assistants in the art of teaching a second language; to give them a thorough knowledge of the process of learning a second language, the methods and approaches to teaching the target language, and the topics related to class planning, testing, and evaluation. Usually offered every year.


LS 223a Rebellion Against Romanticism: Baudelaire, Flaubert, Nietzsche

European Romanticism contained its own internal dialectic, resistance against idealizations in the realms of literature, philosophy, and politics. We study literary and critical works by Baudelaire, Flaubert, and Nietzsche concerning art, religion, personal ethics, and politics. The case of Richard Wagner provides one basis of comparison, as well as the theories of Walter Benjamin and Paul de Man. Usually offered every third year. Last offered in the fall of 1997.

Mr. Kaplan

LS 224b Reading, Writing, and Teaching Across Cultures

Contemporary literary representations of literacy, schooling, and language from a cross-cultural perspective. Students analyze their own educational trajectories and consider ways to integrate this material into their future teaching of language and literature. Usually offered in even years.

Ms. Hale

LS 225b The Novel of Marriage

Examines marriage, eros, and adultery in selected novels of the 19th and 20th century. Reading includes Laclos, Austen, Goethe, Balzac, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Fontane, Durrell, Rhys, Duras, Kundera, Updike, Euripides, Pasolini, Christa Wolf, Sontag. Usually offered every third year.

Mr. Dowden

LS 230b The City: Metropolitan Glory and Urban Alienation

The imperial cities of Europe have symbolized majesty and promise as well as despair, alienation, and misery. We examine visions of the glory and ignominy, honor and depravity born of the modern metropolis. Course materials will include poetry, prose, visual art, and film. Usually offered in odd years.

Mr. Swensen

LS 260a and b Interdisciplinary Program in Literary Studies Faculty Seminar: Literature and Translation

Offers students the opportunity to encounter the research interests and teaching styles of our staff. A different faculty member presides over each weekly meeting. Obligations include reaction papers to weekly reading assignments and a substantial monograph at the end of each semester. Usually offered every year.

Mr. Yglesias and Staff

LS 301-308a and b Readings in Area Studies: Tutorials

Usually offered every year.

LS 301a and b Readings in Comparative Texts

Mr. Yglesias and Staff

LS 302a and b Readings in French Texts

Mr. Kaplan and Staff

LS 303a and b Readings in German Texts

Mr. Dowden and Staff

LS 304a and b Readings in Russian Texts

Mr. Szulkin and Staff

LS 305a and b Readings in Spanish Texts

Ms. Fox and Staff

LS 307a and b Readings in Latin-American Texts

Mr. Yglesias and Staff

LS 308a and b Readings in Italian Texts

Mr. Lansing and Staff

LS 312-318a and b Directed Translation

Open to qualified students. Usually offered every year.


LS 312a and b French Translation

Ms. Hale and Staff

LS 313a and b German Translation

Mr. Dowden and Staff

LS 314a and b Russian Translation

Mr. Szulkin and Staff

LS 315a and b Spanish Translation

Ms. Fox and Staff

LS 317a and b Latin-American Translation

Mr. Yglesias and Staff

LS 318a and b Italian Translation

Mr. Lansing and Staff


LS 351-358a and b Directed Research

Open to advanced graduate students with the consent of the instructor and the chair of the IPLS Program. Usually offered every year.


LS 351a and b Comparative Literature

Mr. Yglesias and Staff

LS 352a and b French

Mr. Kaplan and Staff

LS 353a and b German

Mr. Dowden and Staff

LS 354a and b Russian

Mr. Szulkin and Staff

LS 355a and b Spanish

Ms. Fox and Staff

LS 357a and b Latin-American

Mr. Yglesias and Staff

LS 358a and b Italian

Mr. Lansing and Staff

LS 400d Dissertation Research

Usually offered every year.