1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

World Literature in English Translation

Fall 2014 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.


CLAS 2559: Letter Writing from Ancient to Modern Times
TTh 11-12:15
S. Miller
This course considers letter writing as both a form of communication and a mode of storytelling. Readings, all in English, will come from the letters of Cicero, Ovid, St. Paul, Greek fictional letters/Greek novels, John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the epistolary novels Dracula, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society among others. 

CLAS 2010: Greek Civilization
TTh 9:30 + section
J. Mikalson
An introduction to the literature, government, art, religion, and world of the ancient Greeks through readings (all in English) in Homer, Thucydides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Plato.

CLAS 3350: Language and Literature of the Early Celts
MWF 1000-1050
C. George
This introduction to the Celtic inhabitants of Gaul and the British Isles interweaves two approaches, one literary, one linguistic. First, we will compare writings about the Celts found in Ancient Greek and Latin authors with readings of Celtic literature in translation, notably Ireland’s closest equivalent to the Iliad, the Táin Bó Cúailnge. Second, we will explore how the Celtic languages work, focusing on the basics of Old Irish—which includes such exotic features as initial mutations and conjugated prepositions—as well as touching on Middle Welsh and Gaulish.

CLAS 3150: Ancient Epic & Modern Popular Culture
TTh 1400-1515
B. G. Hays
What do the epics of Greece and Rome have to do with sci-fi, graphic novels and film? How do story patterns persist and change over time? What makes a hero? What does it mean to be human? We'll tackle these and other questions by pairing ancient works with modern ones and seeing what they have to say to one another. E.g. Homer's Iliad, Apollonius's Argonautica, Vergil's Aeneid, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons's Watchmen and the 1978 and 2004 versions of Battlestar Galactica.

CLAS 3559-3 The World of Late Antiquity
MWF 1300-1350
E. Albu
This class asks students to investigate what happened to the lands and peoples of the Roman Empire after the so-called golden ages. Did classical civilization experience cultural transformation or did it crash and burn? Late antique historians have hotly debated these questions. In considering cultural transformation, we especially focus on the development of the liberal arts education in late antiquity and the role of education in mediating between Christianity (and to some degree Judaism and Islam) and classical/pagan culture.


FRTR 2584 French Cinema
(M/W: 2-3:15)
The French have been pioneers in film, from the early shorts of the Lumière brothers and Méliès, through the early classics of the 1930s, and during the New Wave and beyond. This course is an introduction to masterpieces of French cinema, to film genres and movements, and film analysis. FRTR can be taken to meet the second writing requirement (by individual request) and it counts towards the Humanities area requirement.


GETR 3710/CPLT 3710: Kafka and His Doubles, Martens
Introduction to the work of Franz Kafka, with comparisons to the literary tradition he worked with and the literary tradition he formed. TR 11-12:15 New Cabell 115 (German)

GETR 3590 (1)/ CPLT 3590: Guilty Secrets, Bennett
Is obscurity a necessary or an accidental quality of literary works?  What is its political dimension?  The course will begin with Kafka and will include texts of Shakespeare, Eliot, Rimbaud, Goethe, Melville, Rilke, e.e. cummings, Hölderlin, Ionesco, Jarry, Kokoschka, Beckett.

GETR 3330: Introduction to German Studies, Kaiser
This course is an interdisciplinary inquiry into significant literary, artistic, social, political, and intellectual ‘movements’ that may represent what we call “German Culture.” 

GETR 3590 (3)/MDST 3550: Organizing Knowledge, from Alexandria to Google, Wellmon

GETR 3590 (2), Kaiser, Frankfurt School

GETR 3590 (4), Schulz, German and English Linguistics


JPTR 3010: Survey of Traditional Japanese Literature
An introduction to Japanese literature from earliest times through to the nineteenth century. We will read selections from representative texts and genres, including myth, poetry, prose fiction, memoir literature, drama, and works of criticism. No previous knowledge of Japanese required. Satisfies the Second Writing and Non-Western Perspectives requirements.

JPTR 3210: The Tale of Genji
A seminar devoted to an in-depth investigation of Japan's most renowned work of literature and the world's first novel. No previous knowledge of Japanese required. Satisfies the Second Writing and Non-Western Perspectives requirements.

JPTR 3390: Modern Japanese Writers Speak Their Minds
A literary and socio-histocial examination of Japanese men's and women's fiction and essays as a primer to Japan’s conflicted socio-cultural-gender history in light of the country’s complex psychological relationship to the West.


MESA 2300: Crossing Borders: Middle East and South Asia, taught by Rich Cohen

MEST 2270/5270: Culture and Society in the Contemporary Arab Middle East, taught by Prof. Hanadi Al-Samman
Introduces the cultural traits and patterns of contemporary Arab society based on scholarly research, recent field work, and personal experiences and observations in the Arab world. Taught in English; no knowledge of Arabic is required.

MEST 2470/ANTH 2470: Reflections of Exile: Jewish Languages and their Communities, taught by Prof. Dan Lefkowitz
Covers Jewish languages Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Ladino, and Hebrew from historical, linguistic, and literary perspectives. Explores the relations between communities and languages, the nature of diaspora, and the death and revival of languages. No prior knowledge of these languages is required.

MEST 2600/6600: Major Dimensions of Classical-Medieval Arab-Islamic Civilization, taught by Ahmad Obiedat
Introducing the cultural dimensions of Classical and Medieval Arab-Islamic Civilization (600-1400 CE). We will study how Arabs approach their worldly life and pleasures through literature; organize their social domain by ethical-law; construct their spirituality and worldview through religion; react to nature by science; and attempt to resolve the internal and external inconsistencies of their culture through theology, philosophy and mysticism.

MEST 3559/5559: History of Persian Literature, taught by Prof. Alireza Korangy
This course examines the tumultuous history of one of the richest literary traditions in the world. Persian literature addresses not only the many thematic concerns of literature (love, romance, mysticism, heroism,  vindication, panegyric, media, political philosophy, etc.), but also the social and cultural backdrops that mirror and create it.

SATR 3300/7300: Literature and Society in South Asia: Breaking the Cast(e), taught by Prof. Mehr Farooqi
Dalit literature is perhaps the most remarkable literary movement to emerge in post-independence India. It is the voice of the most marginalized section of India’s population, those formerly known as untouchables. Until the advent of Dalit literature, the lives of Dalits had seldom been recorded in Indian literature. We will read fictional and non-fictional narratives of Dalit writers, and watch films to visualize and comprehend their lives.


RUTR 2460: Civilization and Culture of Russia, Edith Clowes
MW 5:00-6:15pm
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Surveys Russian civilization from the earliest times, with emphasis on literature, thought, and the arts.

RUTR 2740 Tolstoy in Translation, David Herman
TR 2:00-3:15pm
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies the major works of Tolstoy.

RUTR 3350 Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature, Julian Connolly
TR 11:00-12:15pm
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies the major works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and others. Emphasizes prose fiction. This course is a prerequisite for 5000-level literature courses.

SLAV 2360 Dracula, Stanley Stepanic
Sec. 001, MW 5:00-6:15pm
Sec. 002, MW 3:30-4:45pm
An introduction to Slavic folklore with special emphasis on the origins and subsequent manifestations of vampirism.  Western perceptions, misperceptions, and adaptations of Slavic culture are explored and explicated.  The approach is interdisciplinary: folklore, history, literature, religion, film, disease and a variety of other topics.

SLFK 2140 Ritual and Demonology, Anne Ingram
TR 12:30-1:45pm
Open to students with no knowledge of Russian. Studies Russian and Ukrainian folk belief as it manifests itself in daily life. Examines how Russian and Ukrainian peasants lived in the 19th century, and how this effects both living patterns and attitudes today. Includes farming techniques, house and clothing types, and food beliefs. Covers the agrarian calendar and its rituals such as Christmas and Easter, the manipulation of ritual in the Soviet era, and the resurgence of ritual today.