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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2004

T C 603 • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39620 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
cal 221

Course Description

In this course we shall read literary texts which have been inscribed from the beginning of written records to the present. We shall encounter various types of prose narratives and other generic forms that express the human need to interpret and even re-invent the world and the human condition. We shall read short stories, novellas, cycles of tales, epics and sagas, historical essays, orations, and various forms of world theater. The course will emphasize that world literature implies a global reach both in time and space. Pieces of fiction, belles lettres, dramatic works, all representative masterworks, albeit created in defined cultures, in delimited eras and places, touch us today by the power of their humanity, insight, rhetorical (stylistic) skills, and delicious story telling. These works transcend the mediocrity of quotidian existence by transmuting our lives, dreams and actual sufferings like Rumplestilskin spinning straw at nightfall into morning golden skeins of art. The rich variety of humankind is represented in the works we shall enjoy reading, discussing, and interpreting in this course.

About the professor: Professor Wolitz is a specialist in 20th Century Comparative Literature, Jewish Studies and media. He has published an opera as well as written libretti. He grew up in the milieu of Richard Tucker, Jan Pearce and Rise Stevens. He was on stage at the Chicago Lyric Opera when Maria Callas caused a classic operatic scandal. Professor Wolitz has published books on Proust, French and Jewish Literature. He published catalogue articles for art shows in Jerusalem and New York City. He has recently published on Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Nobel Prize winner. He has given lectures last January at the University of Jaipur in India and is delivering lectures this Fall in Seoul and Tokyo on Theater Space. Professor Wolitz has received an ACLS award and two Fulbright fellowships, the last one in 1991 during the Gulf War, for research in Jerusalem where he attended an opera wearing a gas mask. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale. He loves hunting for truffles in Dripping Springs and seeking out castles in Spain. He almost never misses a chance to go to an onsen and stay in a ryokan for a fine kaiseki or spend a night in a monastery to cleanse his soul and practice ethnography. But he never misses the Autumn Moon viewing ceremony where he reads his own poetry and his favorite verse from around the world and enjoys mooncakes. Beware he goes up to Mt. Bonnell for such sessions!

Grading Policy

5 papers totaling 18-20 pages 60% Midterm 15% Final 15% Class presentations and participation 10%


Arabian Nights Records of the Grand Historian, Sima Qian Book of Esther Gisli Sursson’s Saga The Decameron, Boccaccio Antigone ,Sophocles Earthquake in Peru, Kleist The Tempest, Shakespeare The Metamorphosis, Kafka The Misanthrope, Moliere Against Catalina, Cicero The House of Bernarda Alba, Lorca Sundiata The Three Sisters, Chekhov The Mahabharata Chushingura Parallel Lives, Plutarch


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