Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Course Details

Core Course

Course Description for Core Course 1: Theory & Methodology

Course Aims and Learning Outcomes:

The course is designed to enable students to:

  • apply cultural theory to world literature
  • sharpen their critical and analytical skills,
  • research and write essays (form a hypothesis, structure an argument and build an essay, reference outside sources);
  • research and present a paper (form a hypothesis, structure an oral presentation; maintain and sustain relations with the listeners, give an overview of sources).


One essay (3500 words in which students will apply one theoretical text discussed in this class to a comparison of at least two primary texts of their own choice.

Advice: There is a substantial amount of reading for the first 6 weeks of this module, so please start reading the following authors as early as possible: Mikhail Bakhtin, Günter Grass, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1 - Introduction

Week 2 - Arnds: Reading Comparative Cultural Theory: Read Introduction and body chapters of Mikhail Bakhtin’s Rabelais and his World; literature handout

Week 3 - Arnds: Reading Comparative Cultural Theory: Bakhtin, Foucault, Nietzsche, Agamben

Week 4 - Arnds: Influence and Intertextuality in World Literature: Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum and François Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel

Week 5 - Arnds: The Bildungsroman – Genre, Identities, and Gender: Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield

Week 6 - Arnds: The Bildungsroman – Genre, Identities, and Gender: Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield

Week 7 - Reading week

Week 8 - Candido: On the Prehistory of the Novel: A Comparative Approach

Week 9 - Candido: Theory of the Novel

Week 10 - Cronin: Comparative Literature and Translation Studies: Theorizing Two Related Fields

Week 11 - Arnds: Student presentations

Week 12 - Arnds: Student presentations

Primary Texts:
Günter Grass, The Tin Drum;
François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel;
Robert L. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde;
Bram Stoker, Dracula;
Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis.

Theoretical Readings:
Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World (Indiana UP)
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization (Vintage)
Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Stanford UP)
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy (Cambridge UP)

For Candido: M. Bakhtin, From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse, in Id., The Dialogic Imagination. Four Essays, ed. by M. Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981), 41-83; T. Hägg, The Ancient Greek Novel: A Single Model or a Plurality of Forms?, in The Novel, ed. by F. Moretti, vol. I (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2007), 125-155; T. Pavel, The Lives of the Novel. A History (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2015), 1-20; I. Watt, The Rise of the Novel. Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 9-34.
Other texts for weeks 9 and 10 to be confirmed.

Course Description for Core Course 2: Literature and.......

For obvious intents and purposes the concept of intertextuality is of heightened interest to comparatists and translators, as we are dealing with dialogues between texts. Intertextual studies, however, threaten to collapse into mere random mushroom hunts for parallels between texts, unless such studies contain another element that gives them glue. This third element in a comparison of texts is the tertium comparationis without which comparative literature cannot exist, and from which literary translations will likewise profit. If we compare Joyce’s Ulysses with Homer’s Odyssey we can do so via mythological patterns or focus on certain motifs or themes that both texts contain. If we compare Richardson’s Clarissa with Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther we may choose to look at the genre of the epistolary novel or other features of the age of sensibility.

These examples, however, are still limiting us, since the tertium comparationis stems from literary theory or literature itself. Once we leave literary theory for cultural theory and beyond this for other disciplines, we gain a wider spectrum of possibilities for comparative literature and a deeper understanding of literature for the literary translator. It can therefore be safely ascertained that if they want to be fruitful comparative literature and the art of literary translation have to develop awareness beyond the notion of intertextuality: as part of their hermeneutic motion these two inter-related fields have to interpret literature through the prism of other disciplines. This course will look at literature through various extra-disciplinary lenses and thus try to hone comparatists’ skills in moving between various discourses and their practices.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1- Introduction – Director and lecturers brief students

Week 2 - Nicole Basaraba – Narratology and Technology

Week 3 - Clodagh Brook – Literature and Film

Week 4 - Tim Jackson - Literature and Hagiography

Week 5 - Martine Cuypers – Literature and History

Week 6 - Martine Cuypers – Literature and History

Week 7 - Reading Week

Week 8 - Jennifer Edmond – Literature and the Digital Humanities

Week 9 - Jennifer Edmond – Literature and the Digital Humanities

Week 10 - Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin – Literature and Folklore

Week 11 - Clodagh Brook – Literature and Film

Week 12 - Igor  Candido - Students present essay topics

Learning Objectives

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
  • analyse literary texts through the lens of another discipline, i.e., think critically in interdisciplinary ways
  • understand the importance of crossing boundaries of discourses and ways of thinking
  • apply specific theories generated by other disciplines to literary studies
  • research and write an essay (form a hypothesis, structure the essay, think critically about primary and secondary sources and refer to them in footnotes)
  • draw on a range of disciplines from cultural studies that broaden the way we interpret literature
  • understand comparative literature as more than just comparing literature
  • present their ideas for the essay in a coherent way by the end of the semester
  • Assessment: One essay of 4000 words to be handed in by end of April


Clodagh Brook - Literature and Film
Beja, Morris. Film and Literature: An Introduction. New York: Longman, 1979
Corrigan, Timothy, ed. Film and Literature: An Introduction and Reader. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2011
Davidson, Phebe, ​ed. Film and Literature: Points of Intersection. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1997
Marcus, Fred H., ed. Film and Literature: Contrasts in Media. Scranton, PA: Chandler, 1971

Tim Jackson- Literature and Hagiography

Martine Cuypers – Literature and History
Introductory Material (all available on Blackboard)
lecture handout introduction
Thucydides, Histories 1.1–22 (Prologue)
Alber, Jan (2005) “Narrativisation” in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory, eds. D. Herman, M. Jahn, M.-L. Ryan: 386-7.
White, Hayden (1984) “The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory,” History and Theory 23.1: 1-33.
Cowen, Tyler, “Be suspicious of stories,” TED Talks January 2012, url
Abbott, H. Porter (2008) “Narrative and truth” in The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. 2nd ed. Cambridge: 145-59.
Further Reading:
Herodotus, Histories
Iggers, Georg G. (1997) Historiography in the 20th Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge. Hanover, NH.
Jenkins, Keith (1997) The Postmodern History Reader. London.
Kramer, Lloyd and Maza, Sarah (2006) eds. A Companion to Western Historical Thought. Blackwell.
Munz, Peter (1997) “The Historical Narrative” in Bentley, Michael (ed.) A Companion to Historiography. London: 851-72.
Sahlins, Marshall (1995) How “Natives” Think – About Captain Cook, for Example. Chicago.
White, Hayden (1973) The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Baltimore.
White, Hayden (1978) Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism.
White, Hayden (1980/1987) “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality,” Critical Inquiry 7.1: 5-27 (JSTOR); reprinted in The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation. Baltimore 1987.
White, Hayden (2010) The Fiction of Narrative. Essays on history, literature, and theory 1957–2007. Baltimore.

Further suggestions on the lecture handout.

Jennifer Edmond – DH and Literature
Franco Moretti: Conjectures on World Literature
John Guillory: How Scholars Read (attached)
Greg Crane: What Do You Do with a Million Books?
Web resources:
Matt Jockers' Topic Models:

Nicole Basaraba – Narratology and Technology
Hackman, P. (2011). “I am a Double Agent”: Shelly Jackson’s Patchwork Girl and the persistence of print in the age of hypertext. Contemporary Literature, 52(1), p. 84-107.
Ihlebaek, K.A., and Krumsvik, A.H. (2015). Editorial power and public participation in online newspapers. Journalism,16(4), p. 470-487.
Ryan, Marie-Laure. (1992). The Modes of Narrativity and Their Visual Metaphors. Style, 26 (3). p. 368-387.
Rholetter, Wylene. (2015). Transmedia Storytelling. Research Starters: Education (Online Edition). Accessible at:

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin – Literature and Folklore
Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale
Stith Thompson The Folktale
Henry Glassie, Passing the time: folklore and history of an Ulster community
Elliott B.Gose, The world of the Irish wonder tale : an introduction to the study of fairy tales
Georges Denis Zimmermann, The Irish Storyteller
Gearóid Ó Crualaoich, The Book of the Cailleach
Chaucer, The Wife of Bath’s Tale

Course Description for Moving Between Cultures

The course aims to explore fundamental issues relating to moving between cultures across a representative range of primarily European perspectives, tackling some of the theoretical and methodological issues raised by travel writing and other related forms of cultural expression. "Moving Between Cultures" lasts for two 9-week terms (Michaelmas and Hilary), with a couple of extra meetings in the final (Trinity) term. It will follow, in roughly chronological order, at the rate of two hours per week, a series of linguistically and culturally homogeneous mini-corpuses, each of which will raise an important issue relating to travel writing. In this way some of the multiple levels of conception and expression of intercultural movement will be identified and investigated. Two strands in particular will be explored: the theme of the imaginary trip as it moves from legendary travel, through fictional voyage to time travel (with focus on Irish, English, Russian and Slavonic texts); and the theme of travel in the real world as it involves arrivals and departures, homecoming and adventure, cultural and spatial movement (involving Italian, Germanic and Hispanic corpuses). In addition, some of the more specifically theoretical and semiotic issues raised by travel will be confronted in the sessions devoted to the travel writings of recent or contemporary French theorists.

Elements of overlap between these categories and the ultimately problematic nature of any kind of classification of cultural movement and exchange will be explored in a couple of sessions at the end of the year which a number of the class teachers will be present.


Week 1            Introduction – Presence of lecturers and their brief Introductions (Candido)

Week 2            Martine Cuypers (War, nostos and identity in Homer’s Odyssey )

Week 3            Martine Cuypers (War, nostos and identity in Homer’s Odyssey )

Week 4            Corinna Lonergan (Moving between Heaven and Hell)

Week 5            Corinna Lonergan (Moving between Heaven and Hell)

Week 6            Roja Fazaeli (Islam and Gender)

Reading Week

Week 8            Roja Fazaeli (Islam and Gender)

Week 9            Ivan Robertson (MBC in NYC)

Week 10          Ivan Robertson (MBC in NYC) 

Week 11          Michael Cronin (Travel and Translation)

Week 12          Michael Cronin (Travel and Translation)


Week 1            Peter Arnds/Jason Marrott (Solitude)

Week 2            Peter Arnds/Jason Marrott (Solitude)

Week 3            Peter Arnds (Slow Travel, Walking, and Bildung in Literature)

Week 4            Peter Arnds (Slow Travel, Walking, and Bildung in Literature)

Week 5            Peter Arnds/L. Mereau (Cynicism, Greek Antiquity to Cont. French Prose)

Week 6            Peter Arnds/L. Mereau (Cynicism, Greek Antiquity to Cont. French Prose)

Reading week

Week 8            Brian Brewer (Picaresque Travel)

Week 9            Brian Brewer (Picaresque Travel)

Week 10          Justin Doherty (Future Travel: Tarkovskii)

Week 11          Justin Doherty (Future Travel: Tarkovskii)

Week 12          Arnds: Essay preparation; student presentations (10 minutes)

Requirement for assessment:
Students are expected to submit one essay of between 7,000 and 8,000 words at the end of HT (date to be confirmed).

Reading suggestions:

Martine Cuypers
Doherty, Lilian (ed.), Oxford Readings in Homer's Odyssey (Oxford 2009)
Fowler, Robert (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Homer (Cambridge 2004)
Graziosi, Barbara and Greenwood, Emily (eds.), Homer in the Twentieth Century: Between World Literature and the Western Canon (Oxford, 2007)
Graziosi, Barbara, Inventing Homer: The Early Reception of Epic (Cambridge 2002).
Hall, Edith, The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer's Odyssey (Baltimore 2008)
McConnell, Justine, Black odysseys: the Homeric Odyssey in the African diaspora since 1939 (Oxford 2013)
Montiglio, Silvia, From Villain to Hero: Odysseus in Ancient Thought (Ann Arbor 2011)
Schein, Seth L., Homeric Epic and its Reception: Interpretive Essays (Oxford 2016) Shay, Jonathan, Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (New York 2003)
Stanford, W.B., The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero (Oxford 1963)
Steiner, George (ed.), Homer in English (London 1996)
Winkler, Martin M. (ed.), Troy: From Homer's Iliad to Hollywood Epic (Malden 2007)

Corinna Lonergan:
Dante’s Commedia on 6th October, and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso on 13th. You will receive detailed materials for both sessions.
For Dante, Commedia, canti 17 and 26 of Inferno,and canti 3 and 33 of Paradiso.
Ariosto: Astolfo’s trips to hell and the moon: canto 33, octaves 96 ff. – canto 34 – canto 35 to octave 30. Orlando’s madness: canto 23, octaves 101 to end, canto 24, octaves 1 to 14; canto 29, octaves 39 to end, canto 30, octaves 1 to 17; canto 39 octaves 36-61.
References to Lampedusa’s Gattopardo and David Lodge’s Small World.
For Ariosto, there is an excellent English translation by Barbara Reynolds (Penguin Classics).

Roja Fazaeli:
Ziba Mir-Hosseini, “Religious Modernists and the “Woman Question”: Challenges and Complicities” in Eric Hooglund (ed.) Twenty Years of Islamic Revolution: Political and Social Transition in Iran since 1979, Syracuse University Press, 2002, pp 74-95.
Ziba Mir-Hosseini, “The Quest for Gender Justice, Emerging Feminist Voices in Islam,” Islam 21, Issue No. 36, May 2004.
Homa Hoodfar, “The Women’s Movement in Iran: Women at the Crossroads of Secularization and Islamization,” Women Living Under Muslim Laws, Series No. 1, 1999.
Margot Badran, “Between Secular and Islamic Feminism/s: Reflections on the Middle East and Beyond,” Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Winter, 2005), pp. 6-28
Margot Badran, “Understanding Islam, Islamism, and Islamic Feminism,” Journal of Women's History, Volume13, Number 1, Spring 2001, pp. 47-52
Mahmood, Saba, Politics of Piety: the Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, Princeton University Press, 2005 (selected chapters)

Peter Arnds/Ivan Robertson:
Moving Between Cultures in New York City
"Avant Garde and Kitsch" by Clement Greenberg
"The American Action Painters" by Harold Rosenberg
"On Advance Guard Literature" by Paul Goodman
"Death and Life of Great American Cities" Jane Jacobs (a passing knowledge)
"The Legacy of Jackson Pollock" by Allan Kaprow
"The Fine Art of Gentrification" by Rosalyn Deutsche and Cara Ryan
"Just Kids" by Patti Smith (again, just a passing knowledge)

Why I Am Not a Painter, The Day Lady Died, and A Step Away From Them by Frank O'Hara
America and Howl by Allen Ginsberg
People Who Died, Last Poem by Ted Berrigan

Paintings by:
Jackson Pollock,
Willem De Kooning,
Jean-Michel Basquiat,
Keith Haring.

Michael Cronin: Travel and Translation
Reading TBC

Hilary Term
Peter Arnds/Jason Marrot: Solitude and Literature

Peter Arnds: Slow Travel and Walking in Literature
W.G. Sebald, Rings of Saturn
Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

Louise Kari Mereau: Cynicism from Greek Antiquity to Contemporary French Prose

R. Bracht Branham & Marie Odile Goulet-Caze, The Cynics; The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy
Sharon A. Stanley, The French Enlightenment and the Emergence of Modern Cynicism (both in TCD library)

And :
6.99 £ by Frederic Beigbeder
The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq
(both at TCD library)

Brian Brewer: Picaresque Travel
The Picaresque Novel (All Titles Are Available through the TCD Library)

A. Primary Text
Lazarillo de Tormes and The Swindler: Two Spanish Picaresque Novels. Trans. and Intro. Michael Alpert. London: Penguin, 2003.
B. General Works
Cruz, Anne J. Discourses of Poverty.
Dunn, Peter N. Spanish Picaresque Fiction: A New Literary History
Parker, Alexander A. Literature and the Delinquent.
Rico, Francisco. The Spanish Picaresque Novel and the Point of View.
Sieber, Harry. The Picaresque.
C. Lazarillo de Tormes

1. Books
Alan Deyermond. Lazrillo de Tormes: A Critical Guide.
Harry Sieber. Language and Society in La Vida de Lazarillo de Tormes.
2. Articles
Archer, Robert. "The Fictional Context of Lazarillo de Tormes." The Modern
Language Review 80 (1985): 340-50.
Friedman, Edward H. “Chaos Restored: Authorial Control and Ambiguity in Lazarillo de Tormes.” Crítica Hispánica 2 (1981): 59-73.
---. “From the Inside Out: The Poetics of Lazarillo de Tormes.” Philological Quarterly 89.1 (2010): 13-30.
Hanrahan, Thomas. “Lazarillo de Tormes: Erasmian Satire or Protestant Reform?” Hispania 66 (1983): 333-39.
Herrero, Javier. “The ending of Lazarillo: The Wine Against the Water.” MLN 93.2 (1978): 313-19.
---. “The Great Icons of the Lazarillo: The Bull, the Wine, the Sausage and the Turnip.” Ideologies & Literatures 5 (1978): 3-18.
---. “Renaissance Poverty and Lazarillo’s Family: The Birth of the Picaresque Genre.” PMLA 94.5 (1979): 876-86.
McGrady, Donald. “Social Irony in Lazarillo de Tormes and its Implications for Authorship.” Romance Philology 23 (1970): 557-67.
Shipley, George A. “The Critic as Witness for the Prosecution: Making the Case Against Lázaro de Tormes.” PMLA 97.2 (1982): 197-94.
Truman, R.W. “Lázaro de Tormes and the Homo novus Tradition.” Modern Language Review 64.1 (1969): 62-67.
Wardropper, Bruce W. “The Strange Case of Lázaro Gonzalez Pérez.” MLN 92.2 (1977): 202-12.
D. The Swindler (El buscón)

1. Books
Clamurro, William H. Language and Ideology in the Prose of Quevedo. Newark: Juan de la Cuesta, 1991.
Morris, C. B. The Unity and Structure of Quevedo’s Buscón: Desgracias Encadenadas. Hull: U of Hull P, 1965.

2. Articles
Clamurro, William H. “The Destabilized Sign: Word and Form in Quevedo’s Buscón”. MLN 95.2 (1980): 295-311.
Dunn, Peter N. “Problems of a Model for the Picaresque and the Case of Quevedo’s Buscón.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 59.2 (1982): 95-106.
Iventosch, Herman. “Onomastic Invention in the Buscón.” Hispanic Review 29 (1961): 15-32.
Parker, Alexander A. “The Psychology of the Pícaro in El Buscón.” Modern Language Review 42 (1947): 58-69.
Price, R. M. “On Religious Parody in the Buscón.” MLN 86.2 (1971): 273-79.
Sieber, Harry. “Apostrophes in Quevedo’s Buscón: An Approach to Quevedo’s Narrative Technique.” MLN 83.2 (1968): 178-211.
Smith, Paul Julian. “The Rhetoric of Representation in Writers and Critics of Picaresque Narrative: Lazarillo de Tormes, Guzmán de Alfarache, El buscón”. Modern Language Review 82 (1987): 88-108.
Walters, D. Gareth. “The Buscón in Context”. Bulletin of Spanish Studies 88.7-8 (2001): 39-55.
Zahareas, Anthony N. “The Historical Function of Art and Morality in Quevedo’s Buscón.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 61.3 (1984): 432-44.
---. “Quevedo’s Buscón: Structure and Ideology.” Homenaje a Julio Caro Baroja. Eds Antonio Carreira, et al. Madrid: Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas. 1055-89.

Justin Doherty: Future Travel: Tarkovskii
Andrei Tarkovskii, Solyaris and Stalker: Bibliography/Filmography

1. Required viewing: Solyaris, dir. Andrei Tarkovsky (1972)
2. Recommended reading:
(a) Original source texts
Lem, Stanisław, Solaris, translated by Joanne Kilmartin and Steve Cox. London: Faber, 2003 Santry, PB-232-655
Strugatskii, Boris and Strugatskii, Arkady, Roadside Picnic, London: Victor Gollancz, 2000 Stacks, PL-349-629
(in Russian: Стругатские, Борис и Аркадий, Повести (Собрание сочинений, том 7), Москва: «Текст», 1993    Ussher, LEN 891.784 STR N1.7)
(b) Literature on Stanisław Lem:                               
Lem, Stanisław,  Peter Swirski (ed) , A Stanislaw Lem Reader.  Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1997 Stacks, PL-320-209
Peter Swirski, Between Literature And Science : Poe, Lem, And Explorations In Aesthetics, Cognitive Science, And Literary Knowledge. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000.          ARTS 828.7 POEg P01
(c) Literature on Tarkovskii:
Andrei Tarkovsky; translated by William Powell and Natasha Synessios, Collected Screenplays. London: Faber, 1999.  Stacks, PL-313-949
Andrey Tarkovsky, Sculpting In Time: Reflections On The Cinema; translated from the Russian by Kitty Hunter-Blair. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000. LEN 791.43 M73
Andrey Tarkovsky, Time Within Time: The Diaries, 1970-1986; translated from the Russian by Kitty Hunter-Blair. Calcutta : Seagull, 1991. Santry, HL-147-199
Peter Green, Andrei Tarkovsky: The Winding Quest. Basingstoke : Macmillan, 1993. Santry, HL-161-718
Maya Turovskaya, translated by Natasha Ward ; edited and with an introduction by Ian Christie. Tarkovsky: Cinema As Poetry. London : Faber, 1989. Santry, HL-126-383
Mark Le Fanu, The Cinema Of Andrei Tarkovsky.  London : BFI, 1987. Santry, PL-123-904
Jung, Desirée: "Adaptation Fever: On Solaris", Film Journal, (1:9), 2004 July, [no pagination] (Electronic publication.). (2004)
Johnson, Vida; Petrie, Graham, "Ethical Exploration", Sight and Sound, (13:2), 2003 Feb, 17-18. (2003) PER 790
Deltcheva, Roumiana; Vlasov, Eduard, "Back to the House, II: On the Chronotopic and Ideological Reinterpretation of Lem's Solaris in Tarkovsky's Film", Russian Review, (56:4), 1997 Oct, 532-49. (1997) PER 891.7
Simonetta, Salvestroni; Philmus, Robert M. (ed. & tr.): "The Science-Fiction Films of Andrei Tarkovsky", Science-Fiction Studies, (14 (3):43), 1987 Nov., 294-306. (1987) PER 820