E 316K • Masterworks of Literature: World (Connexus)
3:00 PM-5:00 PM
The course will examine issues in Twentieth-century literature from a variety of cultures, proceeding through a loosely connected series of texts. For instance, we will explore "ways of dying" in western literature from Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych and Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, and the culturally different notions of death in Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman.
A second section of the course will explore how literature responds to historical events in the twentieth century, from Anna Akhmatova (the Stalinist purges), to Kojima Nobuo (American occupation of post WWII Japan) to Tadeuz Borowski (concentration camps), and A.B. Yehoshua (Arab Israeli conflict).
Our exploration of non-western culture this term will be of Africa, beginning with the oral epic of Sunjata, through Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and on to the Afro-Caribbean poetics of Walcott, Brathwaite, and Goodison.
Primary goals of the class will be to gain knowledge of terms applied to contemporary literature, as well as the historical and cultural issues that are explored in writing from various writing communities. A secondary goal is to introduce students to important writers of our time, inspiring students to read more widely and to be able to locate important texts for their life-long reading practice.
Discussion section: attendance, participation, assignments 15%
2-3 page review of live world culture event 10%
Test One (discourses of death, literary periods, author biographies) 20%
Essay Test (3-4 pages), on second set of readings 20%
Final Exam, covers all material since first test 35%
The Norton Anthology of World Literature: The Twentieth Century (Vol F)
The Death of Ivan Ilych. Leo Tolstoy. (Dover Thrift Edition)
Sunjata: A West African Epic of the Mandé Peoples. David C. Conrad, ed.