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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2005

E 316K • Masterworks of Literature: World (32940-32995)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32940 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
ART 1.102

Course Description

What is a self, an individual? Is it a single entity or is it always entangled with others? Is it something created by history, by politics, by art, by culture or by the divine? Or does it fashion itself? Does it change over time and across space? At some level, art is always concerned with making and unmaking the individual and with freeing or chaining this being. Tracking texts from Classical Greece, Palestine and India to medieval Europe and Japan, we will focus on the continuing, and sometimes desperate, attempts of ancient and early modern artists and authors both to phrase and to answer this question. Expected names from the western canon, like Euripedes, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Baudelaire will keep company with Japan's Basho, Russia's Pushkin, Brazil's Borges, and Nigeria's Achebe.

While the basis of the course will be the literary texts, we shall pillage often and importantly the resources of the other arts of painting, sculpture and film, especially to conjure back to life the spirits of past identities in preparation for a fall in which we shall interrogate our own century as it emerges from the twilight of the twentieth-century experiment.

Grading Policy

1. The participation requirements include: Careful reading of all texts, consistent attendance and active discussion in class and in the discussion section (10%). Attendance will be taken regularly at the start of each class. Each student will be allowed three unexcused absences in the course of the semester. Any further absences will lower the students grade by a half grade (i.e. a B becomes a B-, and a B- becomes a C+).
2. The written assignments will include three midterm examinations (25% each), and a reading journal to be turned in periodically (15%). In order to pass the course all four assignments must be completed. Failure to complete any one of the assignments will constitute failing the course.


All selections will be from The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces (Expanded Edition in One Volume, 1997).


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