C LIT 322 A (11276)

Yomi Braester
Studies in Asian and Western Literatures
 


Testimony and Allegory in World Literature

How do texts and films describe cataclysmic and traumatic events? How does the narrator cope with the need to tell and retell painful experiences? How do authors address not only the past but also the present in which they are producing their work? The course examines these questions through novels and films from China, France, Germany, Israel, and Italy.

 

 

 

Hours: MW 1:30-2:50 CLASSROOM: CMU 228 5 credits

 

 

Instructor : Yomi Braester
  office: C-504 Padelford
  office hours: MW 4:30- 5:30 and by appointment
  e-mail: yomi@u.washington.edu
course website: http://faculty.washington.edu/yomi/east-west.html

 

Assignments

Grading Components

Policies and Procedures

Readings

Class Schedule

 

 

 

 

Assignments

Class assignments include:
(1) In-class commentary: at the end of each class marked by an asterix (*), students will be asked to write a short response to what has been discussed. The purpose is to allow the students to think through what has just occurred, and to allow me to gauge class progress. The assignment is performed in class. To allow some flexibility, students are required to hand in 12 commentaries out of 14 marked meetings.
(2) Reading responses: students are required to hand in a typed reading response, at least one page long, for 16 of the 17 readings (a double reading response should be two pages long), following a set of questions posted on the web (link will be added here). The responses should demonstrate familiarity with the text and point at passages of special interest to the student. Unlike the two papers, the responses are not meant to demonstrate originality of thought.
In principle, no extensions will be allowed for reading responses (see policies).
(3) Mid-term paper: the paper will be written on a given set of questions (link will be added
here). The paper should be 4-6 pages long and typed. To understand the expected quality, please consult my grading criteria.
(4) Final paper proposal: a one-page
typed proposal should include (a) identifying the passage(s) to be discussed, (b) main argument, similar to the opening paragraph of the finished paper, and (c) paper outline, similar to the second paragraph of the finished paper. The purpose of this assignment is to ensure that students think of the thesis and structure of the paper well in advance.
(5) A final paper, 5-7 pages long,
typed. Again, pleaseconsult my grading criteria.


 
Grading components
In-class commentary: 12 X 1 =
12
(two can be missed)      
Reading responses:
16 X 2 = 32
(one can be missed)      
Mid-term paper:     25

Final paper proposal

    1
Final paper:     30


 

Policies and Procedures

Late submissions must be pre-approved by the instructor or they will not be accepted. Extensions for reading responses, make-up classes, and extra screenings will be available only in very special cases, where the students can demonstrate circumstances beyond their control.

All assignments, except in-class commentary, must be typed. To ensure a standard length, please make sure to use Times New Roman font, size 12, double-spaced, with page margins not exceeding 1.25 inches on each side.

The course adheres to UWs rules on plagiarism
(see http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm).

Students with disabilities are encouraged to inform me, and Ill do my best to provide the relevant accommodations.

 
Readings
Books are available at the University Bookstore as well as on reserve in Odegaard.
Texts:
- David Grossman, See Under: Love
      (PJ5054.G728 A9713 1989)
- Liu Daren, "Azaleas Wept Blood" (on electronic reserve)
- Lu Xun, "Diary of a Madman" (on electronic reserve)

- Albert Camus, The Fall
       (PQ2605.A3734 C513 1991)
- Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved
      
(D810.J4 L45313 1988)
- Zhang Xialiang, Grass Soup
      (PL2837.H762 F3613 1995
- Bernhard Schlink, The Reader
      (PT2680.L54 V6713 1997)
Films, on reserve at the Odegaard Media Center:
- Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful (MIRA 003)
- Eli Cohen, Under the Domim Tree (FOXL 054)
- Jiang Wen, In the Heat of the Sun
 

CLASS SCHEDULE (subject to CHANGES)
 

week 1

Wednesday 9/26 Introduction: Can historical testimony be read allegorically?*
  Class discussion: Chen Kaige, The Dragon-blood Tree
  For texts presented in class, see here
 

week 2

Monday, 10/1 Screening: Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful
  Read for today: Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, pp. 11-104
 
Wednesday, 10/3 Testimony and allegory*
  Class discussion: Life is Beautiful
  Read for today: Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, pp. 105-203
  READING RESPONSE #1 DUE
 

week 3

Monday, 10/8 The dilemmas of bearing witness*
  Class discussion: The Drowned and the Saved
  DOUBLE READING RESPONSE #2-3 DUE
 
Wednesday, 10/10 The witness as suspect*
  Class discussion: The Drowned and the Saved; "Diary of a Madman"
  Read for today: Lu Xun, "Diary of a Madman" (download here)
  READING RESPONSE #4 DUE
   

week 4

 
Monday, 10/15 Testimony and detective-work*
  Class discussion:  "Azaleas Wept Blood"
  Read for today: Liu, "Azaleas Wept Blood" (download here);
                           Camus, The Fall, pp. 3-71
  READING RESPONSE #5 DUE
 
Wednesday, 10/17 The survivor's guilt*
  Class discussion: The Fall
  Read for today: Camus, The Fall, pp. 72-147
  DOUBLE READING RESPONSES #6+7 DUE
 

week 5

 
Monday, 10/22 Complicity after the fact*
  Class discussion: The Fall
  Read for today: Schlink, The Reader, pp. 3-117
 
Wednesday, 10/24 The innocense of the guilty*
  Class discussion: The Reader
  Read for today: Schlink, The Reader, pp. 118-218
  DOUBLE READING RESPONSE #8+9 DUE
  START PREPARING MID-TERM PAPER (QUESTIONS LISTED HERE)
   

week 6

 
Monday, 10/29

Between judgment and punishment*

  Class discussion: The Reader
   
Wednesday, 10/31

Writing workshop #1

  Read for today: Zhang , Grass Soup, pp. 3-132
 

week 7

Monday, 11/5

The downfall of language *

  Class discussion: Grass Soup
  Read for today: Zhang , Grass Soup, pp. 134-247
  DOUBLE READING RESPONSE #10+11 DUE
   
Wednesday, 11/7

Screening: Jiang Wen, In the Heat of the Sun

  No reading
 

week 8

 
Monday, 11/12 VETERANS' DAY - NO CLASS
 
Wednesday,11/14 Memory and playfulness*
  Class discussion: In the Heat of the Sun
  No reading
  READING RESPONSE #12 DUE

MID-TERM PAPER DUE (paper writing guidelines and grading criteria)
week 9
Monday, 11/19 Second-generation trauma *
  Class discussion: See Under: Love
Read for today: See Under: Love. Part I (Momik)
  READING RESPONSE #13 DUE
   
Wednesday, 11/21 NO CLASS (day before Thanksgiving Day)
  Read for today: Grossman, See Under: Love, Part II (Bruno)
 

week 10

Monday, 11/26 Storytelling from the grave
  Class discussion: See Under: Love
  Read for today: Grossman, See Under: Love, Part III (Wasserman)
  DOUBLE READING RESPONSE #14+15 1DUE
   
Wednesday, 11/28 Lost words*
  Class discussion: See Under: Love
  Read for today: Grossman, See Under: Love, Part IV (The Encyclopedia)
  READING RESPONSE #16 DUE
 

week 11

Monday, 12/3 Screening: Eli Cohen, Under the Domim Tree
  No reading
  FINAL PAPER PROPOSAL DUE
(for proposal format, see assignment guidelines)
   
Wednesday, 12/5 Memory and commitment
Class discussion: Under the Domim Tree*
  No reading
  READING RESPONSE #17 DUE
   
Monday, 12/10 FINAL PAPER DUE (extensions must be approved by instructor beforehand)