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ENGL BC3205 World Literature Revisited II. 3 points.

(Please note that you do not need to take ENGL BC3204 World Literature Revisited I and ENGL BC3205 World Literature Revisited II in sequence; you may take them in any order.)

As a discipline, World Literature dates back to the early 19th century and Goethe’s concept of weltliteratur. Yet, despite the fact that Goethe was well-versed in the literature of the “Orient” and he emphasized their centrality in weltliteratur, the languages that he spoke of and underlined within the formation of this literature were mostly German and Romance languages. Institutionally speaking, not much has changed over the past couple of centuries. More often than not, studying the literature of locations such as the Middle East, Africa, or East Asia takes place in Area Studies departments, and offerings of these areas’ literatures in Comparative Literature departments are few and far in between.  


In World Literature Revisited I, we imagined what a survey of World Literature in a literary studies department could look like, as we dealt with ancient texts until around the 14th century, with a focus on origin stories and epic narratives, lyric poetry, historical narratives, and sacred/religious texts. In World Literature Revisited II, we will continue to investigate and challenge the categories of “Eastern” and “Western” literature and think through the categories of “world” and “literature” in the course title. In this part of the course, we will work on (classical, early modern, and modern) drama, modern poetry, and the novel, with a particular focus on reading in comparison adaptations, appropriations, and literary responses.

What/where/whom constitutes the world in World Literature? How can we read and trace literary influence across these literatures without reducing them to a mere repetition of the same themes and ideas? Finally, we will think about the role that translation plays in the production and politics of World Literature, particularly when it comes to adaptations and appropriations, and how the issue of translation differentiates between the disciplines of Comparative Literature and World Literature.

Spring 2021: ENGL BC3205
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 3205 001/00316 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Ll017 Milstein Center
Atefeh Akbari Shahmirzadi 3 24/30