LIT 2120: World Literature


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Course Objective and Description:

This course is a survey of World Literature from the 17th Century to the present day, and, as such, we will be reading and writing about a great variety of works in order to get a sense of the development of literature in this time span in various locals around the world. Since literature reveals the workings of culture, we shall endeavor to create an ongoing conversation on the nature of those workings as we piece together the conversation in which the work itself participates. This particular section of World Literature will revolve around folktales from around the world. We will classify various archetypes and then look at corresponding tales within various countries.

Also, because this survey of World Literature follows the tracings of folk and fairy tales, as well as some mythology, we will be reading certain theoretical texts such as Carl Jung, Bruno Bettelheim, and Jack Zipes to help structure the course in a broader theoretical sense. These texts will range from psychoanalytical readings to structuralist readings, equipping you with various angles to approach a text. These readings will facilitate discussion about the views of folktales within the larger climate of tale types.

The goal of this course is to encourage an understanding of each individual work with the larger context of World literature and, by doing so, learn how to read poetry, drama, and fiction critically. In order to communicate these interpretations, we will also focus on how to write about literature. Thus the goal in this endeavor is to construct essays that write about these genres in a thoughtful, convincing, and effective manner. Essays are important, but folklore relies heavily on presentation and the spoken word; therefore, you will be required to do several in class presentations over the course of the semester. Another key aspect of folklore is compiling information and strands of stories so the final project will be a web project that compiles and organizes the information accumulated in this class.


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