What in the World is World Literature?
This course is designed for first-year students with two aims in mind: 1) an exploration of literary texts from around the world, and 2) an introduction to the discipline of World Literature. “What in the World is World Literature?” is at the forefront of literary study as it brings global perspectives to Kenyon. It emphasizes the study of literature as a way of crossing linguistic, national, and cultural borders. The course draws attention to language by placing novels, poems, plays and short stories written in different languages and translated into English in conversation with each other. It questions the boundedness of the nation by showing how the writing, publishing and reading of literary texts is already a transnational activity. Finally, it reveals how local and global cultures are intertwined in the literary text. Course readings may include Murasaki Shikibu’s “The Tale of Genji,” Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children,” Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth,” Luigi Pirandello’s “One, No One & One Hundred” and Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing.” The theme and texts taught in the course will vary each year and students are encouraged to contact the course instructor to find out the specific reading list for a given year. This course counts toward the core course requirement for the concentration. Only open to first-year students. No prerequisite. Offered every fall.