E455 – European Literature after 1900

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Prerequisite: two courses in Literature.

Description: Continental European texts in translation since 1900.

This course introduces students to some of the major writers of continental Europe between 1890 and the present. Because of the difficulty of reading poetry in translation, of the modern European poets only Rainer Maria Rilke is covered (the Duino Elegies). The other authors treated are all fiction writers. (Modern European drama is covered in another course — E445 — and is thus excluded from this one.) The reading list can vary from semester to semester but usually in addition to Rilke four authors are treated: Thomas Mann (“Tonio Kröger,” “Tristan,” and “Death in Venice”), Marcel Proust (Swann’s Way), Franz Kafka (The Trial or a selection of his shorter fiction, including “The Judgment” and “The Metamorphosis”), and Vladimir Nabokov (Pale Fire). The course’s emphasis is on literary techniques and philosophical positions of the works covered, as well as on how the ways the works interrelate to give the reader a sense of the nature of literary Modernism.