Concentration: Literature, Modernity, and the Contemporary

This concentration provides a dual framework for considering the history of literature: the study of texts’ singular or innovative relation to the past—a measure of their modernity—as well as the exploration of their complex, sometimes contentious, relation to other discourses of the same historical moment—a measure of their contemporaneity.

This double perspective can apply to Europe even before the advent of the so-called “early modern” period during the Renaissance, charting a history of various modernities or modernisms, but it can also serve as the occasion to investigate the limits of considering any literature “modern” or “contemporaneous.” This concentration includes a broad range of courses investigating problems of periodization or genre, questions about aesthetics or creativity, and issues concerning literary form, the history of authorship and readership, and the teaching of literature.

Faculty researching and teaching in this concentration:

Richard Barney
Jeffery Berman
Ronald Bosco
Lana Cable
Patricia Chu
Thomas Cohen
Randall Craig
Helen Elam
Jennifer Greiman
Glyne Griffith
Michael Hill
Pierre Joris
Eric Keenaghan
Kir Kuiken
James Lilley
Ineke Murakami
Tomás Urayoán Noel
Marjorie Pryse
Martha Rozett
Helene Scheck
Edward Schwarzschild
Charles Shepherdson
David Wills

Examples of courses taught in this concentration: