Comparative Literature | Special Topics in Comparative Lit: Inventing Fiction in the Ancient World
C301 | 27297 | Prof. Kevin Tsai


Department of Comparative Literature, Fall 2008

TR 4:00-5:15
fulfills A&H and CS requirements

Though a genre generally regarded as quintessentially a mark of
modernity, fiction has a hidden history rooted in the unique cultural
and literary configurations of the antiquity. This course will examine
the representations of gender and sexuality in the earliest ancient
Greek novels such as Chariton, Longus, and Achilles Tatius, and in
Roman works such as the Satyricon and The Ass. How do these texts
challenge, question, or support the relationship between power and
sexuality as articulated in Foucaultís History of Sexuality? What are
the factors that might have led to the rise of these prose narratives,
and what makes them fiction if they claim to be true stories? We will
contextualize classical fiction in world literature through comparison
with the Near East and China, and through examination of modern
adaptations by Fellini, Mishima, and The Blue Lagoon.