• Length:
    12 Weeks
  • Effort:
    5–7 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

None

About this course

Skip About this course

This literature course explores how great writers refract their world and how their works are transformed when they intervene in our global cultural landscape today.

No national literature has ever grown up in isolation from the cultures around it; from the earliest periods, great works of literature have probed the tensions, conflicts, and connections among neighboring cultures and often more distant regions as well.

Focusing particularly on works of literature that take the experience of the wider world as their theme, this course will explore the varied artistic modes in which great writers have situated themselves in the world, helping us to understand the deep roots of today's intertwined global cultures.


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What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The history of World Literature
  • How literary works and books are transformed by cultural transmission
  • How to critically analyze literary works
  • The significance of major technological advances in writing
Texts/authors considered in the course:

Section 1: Goethe and the Birth of World Literature  
Section 2: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Section 3: Homer, The Odyssey
Section 4: The 1001 Nights
Section 5: Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
Section 6: The Lusiads
Section 7: Voltaire, Candide
Section 8: Lu Xun and Eileen Chang
Section 9: Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones
Section 10: Wole Soyinka, Death and the King's Horseman
Section 11: Salman Rushdie and Jhumpa Lahiri
Section 12: Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red

Meet your instructors

David Damrosch
Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature
Harvard University
Martin Puchner
Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature
Harvard University

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