The Literature Program


Course Offerings

The Literature Program at Bard offers courses in the following categories:
  • Sequence Courses
  • Introduction Courses
  • 100/200-Level Courses
  • 300- and 400-Level Courses
  • World Literature
  • Junior Seminar
Course Offerings
Historical studies in the Comparative, English and American literature traditions are organized into sequences. Click the course titles below to see the descriptions.

Sequence Courses

  • LIT 204A Comparative Literature I
  • LIT 204B Comparative Literature II: Baroque, Enlightenment, and the Age of Sensibility
  • LIT 250 English Literature I
  • LIT 252 English Literature III
  • LIT 257 American Literature I
  • LIT 259 American Literature III

Introduction Course Samples

  • LIT 103 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • LIT 2207 Reading as Writing as Reading: Exploring the Contemporary
  • LIT 2607 Introduction to Literary Theory

100/200-Level Course Samples

  • LIT 2032 Signs and Symbols: Pattern Recognition in Literature and Code
  • LIT 2050 Blues, Spirituals & The 20th Century African American Literature
  • LIT 2081 Mass Culture of Postwar Japan
  • LIT 2105 Poetic Justice: Law & Literature From Plato to the Present
  • LIT 2134 Traditions of African American Literature
  • LIT 2140 Domesticity and Power
  • LIT 218 Free Speech
  • LIT 2194 Berlin: Capital of the 20th Century
  • LIT 2213 Building Stories
  • LIT 2263 Culture & The Rise of the English Novel
  • LIT 233 The Easter Rising in Ireland, April 1916
  • LIT 234 Literature of the Crusades
  • LIT 2404 Fantastic Journeys and the Modern World
  • LIT 2485 James Joyce's Fiction
  • LIT 2501 Shakespeare
  • LIT 2882 Different Voices, Different Views

300- and 400-Level Course Samples

  • LIT 307 Through a Future Darkly, Global Crisis and the Triumph of Dystopia
  • LIT 3090 Black Mountain College & The Invention of Contemporary American Arts & Poetry
  • LIT 315 Proust: In Search of Lost Time
  • LIT 333 New Directions in Contemporary Fiction
  • LIT 355 American Realisms
  • LIT 3308 Reading and Writing the Hudson
  • LIT 405 Senior Colloquium: Literature
  • LIT 431 Post Fantasy, Fabulism, and the New Gothic

World Literature Courses

World Literature courses explore the interrelations among literary cultures throughout the world. They pay special attention to such topics as translation, cultural difference, the emergence of diverse literary systems, and the relations between global sociopolitical issues and literary form.

Current World Literature Courses

  • LIT 2031 Ten Plays that Shook the World
  • LIT 2120 Consciousness & Conscience
  • LIT 2203 Balkan Voices: Writing from Southeastern Europe
  • LIT 2509 Telling Stories About Rights
  • LIT 2672 Arab Women's Literature
  • LIT 319 People Moving: Literature & The Refugee

Junior Seminar in Literature

A junior seminar is specifically designed for moderated juniors preparing for senior project work in literature. Maximum enrollment is l5. Common expectations for all junior seminars are the following:

1) A 20-25 pp. paper will be written in the course of the semester, representing the student’s independent work.

2) The seminar will entail the students’ substantial exposure to a methodology other than close reading, that is, historical research, theory, or criticism and scholarship specific to the topic. By this means students grounded in close reading during their first two years will come to discover how to contextualize their ideas in significant ways. 

They will fine-tune their understanding of poetic techniques, or the forms of narrative of drama.   They will ask themselves how texts are vehicles for aesthetic and cultural values, as well as produce them. This is to study, in short, how literature participates in culture rather than simply serving as its reflection. They will also discover what literary analysis can tell us about the strengths and limitations of emerging textual practices (web-based research, distinguishing between primary sources and Wikipedia).

Students are expected to acquire competence in the methodology and to write the long paper within its framework.

3) The seminar will include short assignments and other work (such as discussion and writing practices that encourage exploratory and experimental ventures in the new area) that will help the students make progress toward the long paper, and secondarily encourage habits of collaborative work that may serve also as a support for the chapters of senior project.

Current Junior Seminar Courses

  • LIT 3122 The Revenge Tragedy
  • LIT 3244 Major Currents in American Thought
  • LIT 325 Why Do They Hate Us? Representing the Middle East
  • LIT 3521 Advanced Seminar: Mark Twain