Comparative Literature | World Literature Before 1500
C320 | 27533 | Prof. Kevin Tsai


Tue/Thurs 2:30-3:45
This course carries the College Arts & Humanities credit.

There is a literary world much bigger than Charles Dickens, and much
older than the English language. This course surveys the world
heritage of literature in translation from the beginning of history
to 1500 AD. Rather than focusing on a small number of authors and
books, this course will offer a smorgasbord of texts organized around
themes such as: creation myths across the world, epic poetry from
Greece, Rome, and India, the lyric imagination of China and Japan,
Islamic and Buddhist conversion, the courtly love of medieval Europe,
drama in the civic realm, philosophies of death and the good life,
and much more. Homer, Virgil, and Dante are not neglected, though
they are trimmed for those eager to see what the non-Western world
has to offer. The performative context of these texts will be
explored through reconstructed music, drama, and recitation. We will
reflect on a number of key questions such as: how can we define a
truly inclusive notion of world humanity? What can our pre-modern
forebears teach us about existence? What is world literature?