What is world literature? Does world literature transcend the confines of its own culture? Or does it concern precisely those works that are distinctly representative of one's own national culture? Or is world literature both national and transnational, particular and universal, narrating experiences all humans share, while also contributing to our appreciation of cultural differences? If jury reports for literary prize awards in world literature (such as Nobel Prize) often stress both views, in this course we explore how influential representatives of world literature urge us to rethink precisely what makes human experiences so similar and different. To that end, among other perspectives, we shall pay attention to a foundational concept of literary studies: namely, mimesis. Central to aesthetic representations of reality, exemplary texts in world literature will also expand mimesis beyond realism to include a plurality of experiences located at the crossroads of sameness and otherness. These include identification, Doppelgängers, performance, emotional contagion, stretching to inform cultural differences and metamorphoses across gender, race, sexuality, among other categories. Authors featured are spread across all continents and may include, Mary Shelley, Voltaire, Leo Tolstoy, Primo Levi, Chinua Achebe, Nella Larsen, J. M. Coetzee among others.
Through this course students will gain:
insight into the immense diversity of literature around the world and from different periods and debates in world literature;
training in close reading influential literary texts by paying close attention to both form and content via the interdisciplinary lenses of mimetic studies and critical theory;
comparative skills in tracing aesthetic forms, historical experiences, and representation of otherness across literary texts and cultural contexts.
The timetables are available through MyTimetable.
Mode of instruction
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
Registration À la carte education and Contract teaching
Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal.