Comparative Literature | World Literature before 1500
C320 | 15654 | Professor P. Losensky

CMLT-C 320/15654
World Literature before 1500

Professor P. Losensky     MW 11:15-12:30		

Globalization is a word on everyone’s tongue today, and the complex
interconnectedness of diverse cultures becomes ever more apparent as
the speed of communication around the world increases at an
unprecedented rate. Cross-cultural interaction, exchange, and
transformation, however, have been going on since the beginning of
literate civilization, and people in all parts of the world have
always wrestled with common issues of what it means to be human: How
do we place ourselves in nature and the cosmos? How do we organize
social relations? How do we make sense of the biological cycle of
birth, reproduction, and death? This course will trace the
historical antecedents of today’s globalization by surveying the
development of literature from the earliest written records through
the end of the middle ages. Our readings will encompass all of the
major centers of world civilization—East and West Asia, India, and
the Mediterranean—with special emphasis given to “non-Western”
cultures. We will read a wide range of cosmographic and epic
writings, from Sumer to medieval England, including works such as
Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, and Beowulf and selections from Confucius,
Zhuangzi, the Bible and the Qur’an. Our survey will include dramatic
works from ancient Greece (Antigone) and medieval India
(Shakuntala), and throughout the semester, we will read a variety of
lyric poetry, perhaps the most universal of literary genres, from
ancient Egypt and China, India, and southern Europe.

*Fulfills A&H and Intensive Writing requirements*