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Vincent Barletta





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Autumn Qtr. — by appt.

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Luso-Brazilian Literature
Portuguese Renaissance
medieval and early modern literature
literature and philosophy
linguistic anthropology
Portuguese Empire in Africa and Asia

Vincent Barletta

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Iberian and Latin American Cultures

Vincent Barletta is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Iberian and Latin American Cultures. He is a Research Associate at Stanford's Europe Center and associated faculty in the Center for African Studies, the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, the Mediterranean Studies Forum and the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. He is also Co-Faculty Chair (with Marília Librandi-Rocha) of the Sense & Sound Research Project; and Co-Executive Editor (also with Marília Librandi-Rocha) of the Journal of Lusophone Studies. His research and teaching focus on medieval and early modern Iberian literatures; Portuguese literature, empire and humanism; Islam and Aljamiado literature; comparative literature; literature and linguistic anthropology; literature and philosophy.

His current book project, What's Rhythm, analyzes key philosophical and poetic theorizations of rhythm from ancient Greece to the modern era. Central to this book project are different poetic and philosophical accounts of flow (rêo), form, mimesis, ethics, and subjectivity. If Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa is right in arguing that “rhythm corresponds to an intimate movement of the soul,” what is this correspondence, what is meant by movement (kinésis), and what is the status of the soul? This book addresses these and other questions over a period spanning two millennia and in texts written in over ten languages.

Most recently, Prof. Barletta has co-edited Dreams of Waking: An Anthology of Iberian Lyric Poetry, 1400-1700 (U of Chicago P, 2013), with Mark L. Bajus and Cici Malik. Before this, he authored Death in Babylon: Alexander the Great and Iberian Empire in the Muslim Orient (U of Chicago P, 2010), which focuses primarily on the ideologies of empire and classical motifs that inform Portuguese expansion into Muslim Africa and Asia. He is also the author of Covert Gestures: Crypto-Islamic Literature as Cultural Practice in Early Modern Spain (U of Minnesota P, 2005), for which he was awarded the La corónica International Book Award, and editor/translator of Granadan Morisco Francisco Núñez Muley's A Memorandum for the President of the Royal Audiencia and Chancery Court of the City and Kingdom of Granada (U of Chicago P, 2007). In recent years, he has published research on writers such as Gomes Eanes de Zurara, João de Barros, Luís de Camões, Joanot Martorell, Fernão de Oliveira, Fernão Mendes Pinto, António Vieira, and Ramon Llull.


PhD, Hispanic Languages and Literatures, UCLA
MA, Hispanic Languages and Literatures, UCLA
BA, English, Saint Mary's College of CA


COMPLIT 259A Levinas and Literature

Focus is on major works by French phenomenologist Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) and their import for literary studies. Aim is to discuss and evaluate Levinas's (often latent) aesthetics through a close reading of his work in phenomenology, ethics, and Jewish philosophy. If poetry has come to seem barbaric (or at least useless) in a world so deeply shaped by genocide, forced migration, and climate change, Levinas offers a clear and deeply engaged path forward. If you love literature but still haven't figured out what on earth it might be good for, this course is for you. Readings and discussion in English.

ILAC 320E Renaissance Africa (ILAC 220E)

Literature and Portuguese expansion into Africa during the sixteenth century. Emphasis on forms of exchange between Portuguese and Africans in Morocco, Angola/Congo, South Africa, the Swahili Coast, and Ethiopia. Readings in Portuguese and English.

ILAC 220E Renaissance Africa (ILAC 320E)

Literature and Portuguese expansion into Africa during the sixteenth century. Emphasis on forms of exchange between Portuguese and Africans in Morocco, Angola/Congo, South Africa, the Swahili Coast, and Ethiopia. Readings in Portuguese and English.

ILAC 206 Medieval Iberian Lyric

Selected major works of Iberian lyric poetry produced from the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries; also current critical approaches to medieval lyric, including issues of performance, orality, gender, and manuscript culture. Prerequisite: SPANLANG 13 or equivalent. Taught in Spanish.

ILAC 157 Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Literatures

Survey of Iberian literature from the medieval and early modern periods. When covering texts in languages other than Spanish, translations into English or Spanish will be made available. Taught in Spanish; prerequisite: SPANLANG 13 or equivalen

ILAC 329 Luis de Camoes - Epic

Focus is on Camões's epic masterpiece, Os Lusiadas. Topics include empire, intertextuality, Indian Ocean Studies, history, prophecy, and poetics. Readings in English and Portuguese.

COMPLIT 121 Poems, Poetry, Worlds

What is poetry? How does it speak in many voices to questions of history, society, and personal experience? Why does it matter? The reading and interpretation of poetry in crosscultural comparison as experience, invention, form, sound, knowledge, and part of the world. Readings include: classical Chinese poetry, English Romantic poetry, and modern Arabic, American, Brazilian, Japanese, German, Spanish poetry, with specific attention to landscape, terrain, the environment, and the role of the poet.

ILAC 107N 3D Modeling, Virtual Media, and the Poetics of the Self: The Art and Lives of Fernando Pessoa

Preference to freshmen. The poetry and prose of Fernando Pessoa, Portugal'€™s greatest modern poet. As famous for his written work (in Portuguese and English) as for his complex understanding of selfhood (he would divide his own subjectivity into 106 different, autonomous selves), Pessoa remains a towering and largely perplexing figure even today. Class discussions will focus on close readings of Pessoa'€™s work along with the implications of his theory of subjectivity for our understanding of modernity, art, and the self. Class field trip to San Francisco. Written assignments include a journal, blog posts, and a final paper written as someone else. Taught in English.