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.



LIT   110   

 IntroDUCTION to World Literature

Joseph Luzzi

. T . Th .

10:10 am- 11:30 am

OLIN 301


This new course will emphasize the global nature of literary production and explore the interrelations among literary cultures throughout the world. We will 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. Subjects include the relation between eastern and western epic; the cross-cultural definitions of “lyric” and other literary genres; the emergence of the novel and its relation to the emergence of modern capitalism; the idea of “autobiography” across the continents and the centuries; theories of “world literature” from Goethe to Casanova and Moretti; and the struggle today between “close” and “distant” reading. Readings and course work in English. This course is part of the World Literature offering.  Class size: 20



LIT   2234   

 The Ancient Comic Theater

Lauren Curtis

M . W . .

3:10 pm -4:30 pm



Cross-listed: Classical Studies, Theater and Performance At once bawdy and wordy, revolutionary and reactionary, the comic theater of ancient Greece and Rome represents the invention of an art form combining spectacular mass entertainment with highly topical social commentary. What was ancient comedy, and how did it evolve? What was its legacy, and how do its concerns relate to the role played by comedy in our lives today? With mythical heroes, wily slaves, and singing frogs as our guides, we will travel to Athens and Rome by way of Hades and Cloudcuckooland to explore how the ancient comic theater played the part of carnivalesque ritual, penetrating political and social satire, or utopian fantasy. We will trace comic traditions from Aristophanes’ theater of the absurd, through the social dramas of Menander, to the metatheater of the Roman playwrights Plautus and Terence. By reading a selection of plays in light of their ancient and modern performance contexts, we will explore the shifting boundaries between ancient and modern notions of theatricality, genre, humor, society, and the self. Readings, all in English translation, will include: Aristophanes, Frogs, Birds, Lysistrata; Menander, The Grouch; Plautus, The Braggart Soldier, Menaechmi; Terence, The Brothers. This course is part of the World Literature offering.

Class size: 22



LIT   2238   

 Nature, Disaster & EnvironmENt IN JAPANESE LITERATURE

Mika Endo

. T . Th .

1:30 pm -2:50 pm

OLIN 201


Cross-listed: Asian Studies, Environmental & Urban Studies This course examines the literary representation of nature and the environment in texts from the Japanese archipelago. It is often asserted that nature is ubiquitous in Japanese literary expression, but how and why did this come to be? How has nature been narrated, harnessed and reimagined at varying moments and locations, and how have the values assigned to it been deployed in the construction of national identity and in the processes of modernity? Exploring the tensions in the environment as an object of aesthetic appreciation as well as a potentially destructive force, our examination will also extend to varying political, social, religious, and ethical dimensions of the human responses to the lived environment, including what the natural environment and disasters can teach us. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, we will also be asking how attentions and concerns about environment have been raised and redirected, and will explore the emerging literary responses that have sought to grapple with life in an entirely changed landscape. Readings include a variety of fictional and nonfictional texts from the eighth century to the present, including classical court poetry, Matsuo Basho, Miyazawa Kenji, Kawabata Yasunari, Oe Kenzaburo, Kawakami Hiromi, ecofeminist critics, Okinawan poetry, and an Ainu memoir. Conducted in English with all readings in translation.  This course is part of the World Literature offering.

Class size: 20



LIT   2670   

 Women Writing the Caribbean

Donna Grover

. T . Th .

10:10 am- 11:30 am

OLIN 305


Cross-listed:  Africana Studies, American Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies   The “creolized” culture of the Caribbean has been a hotbed of women’s writing from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Claudia Mitchell-Kernan describes creolization as “nowhere purely African, but … a mosaic of African, European, and indigenous responses to a truly novel reality.” This course is concerned with how women, through fiction, interpreted that reality. While confronting the often explosive politics of post-colonial island life and at the same time navigating the presence of French, English, and African influence, women saw their role as deeply conflicted. We will begin with The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself (1831) and Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857). Other writers will include Martha Gelhorn, Jean Rhys, Phyllis Shand Allfrey, Jamaica Kincaid, Michelle Cliff, and Edwidge Danticat.  This course counts as a World Literature offering.   Class size: 18



LIT   3253   


Nathan Shockey

. T . . .

1:30 pm -3:50 pm



Cross-listed:  Asian Studies  This seminar explores a variety of modern literary, artistic, theoretical and linguistic movements that have arisen through the contacts, interactions, and mutual imaginations taking place between Asia, The United States, and Europe across the 19th and 20th centuries. From literary modernism to pragmatism to post-structuralism to personal computing, the interpretation and imagination of “Asia” and its traditions, art, and literature has played a key role in the evolution of Western aesthetic movements. Likewise, meetings between Asian, American, and European writers, artists, and thinkers have served to mediate the experience and shape of modernity in the East. Although many of these movements could be characterized as “exoticist” or “Orientalist,” this class aims to take seriously the ways in which the representation and mutual mis-representation of the East in the West has structured modern and contemporary ideas of language, visuality, space, and self. Readings include Okakura, Fenollosa, Waley, Pound, Kuki, Heidegger, Suzuki, Snyder, Chao, Buck, and Barthes, among others. This course is part of the World Literature offering and  is a literature  junior seminar.   Class size: 15