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. This course paired with any CWL course counts towards the Humanities diversification requirement. These courses must be taken at Kenyon. No prerequisite. Offered every fall.

This is a methods course that trains students to think and write like a comparativist. Where CWL 120 is an introduction to World Literature as methodology, CWL 220 builds on that foundation by situating world literatures within the broader discipline of Comparative Literature. This is a theoretically-focused course that integrates the study of literary texts with the founding and dominant theoretical movements of the 20th century. Building upon the close reading skills that students will have developed in their first-year core course, students will learn specific strategies of reading literature, including contrapuntal reading, distant reading, and surface reading. Course readings may include Kalidasa’s “Shakuntala, Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway,” Jorge Luis Borges’s “Labyrinths,” Sophocles’ “Antigone” and Kamila Shamsie’s “Home Fire”. 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 counts toward the core course requirement for the concentration. Permission of instructor required.This course paired with any CWL course counts towards the Humanities diversification requirement. These courses must be taken at Kenyon. Prerequisite: CWL 120 or select, cross-listed sections of ENGL 103/104 or MLL 100- or 200-level courses (in translation) or CLAS 130 or 225. Offered every spring.

The course is team-taught by two faculty members from English and MLL. It explores what it means to read world literature by focusing on a single theme or problem common to many cultures that takes different forms in each local environment. For example, the course might focus on the problem of migrations to see how global literary forms have found different ways to represent what happens when people move from place to place. Or the course might focus on the different ways of representing coming of age. Yet another theme that the course might explore centers on the Anthropocene and how the environment is figured across cultures. Earlier iterations of the course have focused on travel, print cultures and book history, and global poetry; consequently, readings may include “Gilgamesh,” Laila Lalami’s “The Moor’s Account,” Aphra Behn’s “Oroonoko,” Marco Polo’s “The Travels” and Thomas Pynchon’s “The Crying of Lot 49.” This course paired with any CWL course counts towards the Humanities diversification requirement. These courses must be taken at Kenyon. Prerequisite: CWL 220 or permission of instructor. Offered every other spring.