Fall 2011

Configuring Catastrophe:  War and Remembrance Since 1900

Listed in: Special Seminar, as COLQ-324


Jay M. Winter (Section 01)


This seminar will examine the configuration of war and violence since 1900 in literary and visual acts of remembrance.  After addressing some of the central elements of the literature on war and remembrance, we will survey how writers and other artists have configured catastrophe, either in the form of civil war or international war or both.  The link between genocide and war will be explored, as will the limits of representation itself.  Among those whose works are discussed are Joseph Conrad, Wilfred Owen, Primo Levi, Vasily Grossman, Pablo Picasso, and David Grossman.

All students will write a 25-page paper comparing two works of imaginative literature or memoirs that address the problem of configuring catastrophe.  The course grade will consist of one-third for class participation and two-thirds for the paper.  (Offered only once.)

Open to juniors and seniors.  Limited to 15 students.  Fall semester. President's Initiative Fund Lecturer Winter. 

If Overenrolled: Students will be asked to write a statement explaining their interest in taking the seminar and their background preparation.


2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011