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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Common Courses (School of Lit, Lang and Cult)

Postgraduate Course: World Literature (CLLC11181)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis option introduces students to the concept of World Literature, its development and current debates. Students will read primary texts that have gained a place in 'world literature', a term often loosely used to describe literary works that have been received successfully well beyond their national boundaries, but that also, more importantly perhaps, draws attention to a work's, and its author's, 'worldliness', its position in the world, and its relation to other literatures and works of art. We will read texts by well-known and lesser well-known, canonical and non-canonical, 'world authors' (J.W. Goethe, A. Djebar, T. Cole, Y. Tawada, J. Galloway, V.S. Naipaul, S. Sontag, J.M. Coetzee, O. Pamuk) and discuss why these authors/texts deserve, have gained, or were given 'world status'. Each primary text is matched with a key critical/theoretical text whose concerns are reflected in the primary text. Theories/critics (Damrosch, Spivak, Moretti, Casanova, Rosendahl Thomsen, Siskind, Apter, Walkowitz, Venkat Mani, Shi) are discussed in chronological order to understand the growing interest in World Literature since 2000, to unpack the links as well as differences between various approaches to the concept, and to explore how recent and current debates have shaped and defined the field.
Course description Academic description
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the concept of World literature, a term that was coined by Goethe and that has influenced literary debates since then, has started to take centre stage again in the discussion of contemporary literature. This focus has its roots in a more urgent concern with the anxieties and problems that have shaped the twenty-first-century world so far (the 'war on terror' and questions of national/cultural belonging as well as related concepts such as tolerance, environmental disasters, etc.) on the one hand and recurrent debates on the position of national literatures in a world literary market on the other.

This option introduces students to the concept of World Literature, its development and current debates by reading authors/primary texts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that reveal their 'worldliness', their position in the world, and their relation to other literatures and works of art particularly well. The primary texts are read alongside key critical texts that have influenced the debate on 'world literature' in recent years.

Outline of content

Session 1: What is World Literature? -- Introduction to the course, followed by an introduction to the history and the development of the concept from Goethe via René Wellek and Erich Auerbach to the present day.
Reading: David Damrosch, 'Introduction: Goethe Coins a Phrase', in What Is World Literature? (2003); extracts from J.W. Goethe, West-Eastern Divan (1819)

Session 2: Planetarity
Reading: Gayatri Spivak, 'Planetarity', in Death of a Discipline (2003); Assia Djebar, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment (1980)

Session 3: Distant Reading
Reading: extracts from Franco Moretti, Distant Reading (2013): 'Conjectures on World Literature' (2000) and 'More Conjectures' (2003); Teju Cole, Open City (2011)

Session 4: The World Republic of Letters
Reading: Pascale Casanova, 'Introduction: The Figure in the Carpet' and 'Principles of a World History of Literature', The World Republic of Letters (2004); Yoko Tawada, 'Where Europe Begins' (1991)

Session 5: Canons
Reading: Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, 'Shifting Focal Points in the International Canons', in Mapping World Literature (2008); Janice Galloway, Foreign Parts (1994)

Session 6: Genre
Reading: Mariano Siskind, 'The Globalization of the Novel and the Novelization of the Global: A Critique of World Literature' (2010); V.S. Naipaul, 'The Journey', in The Enigma of Arrival (1987)

Session 7: Untranslatability
Reading: Emily Apter, 'Introduction' and 'Untranslatables: A World-System', in Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability (2013); Susan Sontag, 'The World as India' (2003), in At the Same Time (2007)

Session 8: Born Translated
Reading: Rebecca Walkowitz, 'Introduction: Theory of World Literature Now', in Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature; J. M. Coetzee, Childhood of Jesus (2013)

Session 9: Bibliomigrancy
Reading: B. Venkat Mani, 'Introduction: World Literature as a Pact with Book', in Recoding World Literature (2017); Orhan Pamuk, 'Nobel Lecture: My Father¿s Suitcase' (2006)

Session 10: World Studies 2.0
Reading: Shu-mei Shi, 'World Studies and Relational Comparison' (2015); students bring their own short texts to class

Description of the learning experience students can expect to get

The course is taught in 10 2h-seminars over one semester. As the course focusses on student-led learning, students are asked to form autonomous learning groups to discuss the primary and secondary texts before class and present the whole group with questions that were raised in their pre-class meetings. As course organiser I will also provide handouts for each seminar with questions for discussion and other important information that will be helpful for class discussion. I will give brief presentations on the texts and their contexts when appropriate, but most of the class will centre on workshop-based discussion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The assessment consists of two written assignments:
- a reflective essay (1000 words, 25%), in which students engage with one or more of the questions/issues that were raised in class; to be submitted in week 6
- a final essay (3000 words, 75%); to be submitted in week 12 (tbc by the Graduate School before the start of the course)
Feedback - written feedback on the reflective essay; students are also invited to an individual feedback session during which the feedback can be discussed further and an essay plan for the final essay can be discussed (weeks 9 and 10)
- written feedback on the final essay
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of World Literature and its underpinning theories, including their complexity
  2. develop original ideas and their own approaches to World Literature and the primary texts
  3. demonstrate a high level of expression in both written and oral form
  4. carry out personal research under the guidance of the tutor and offer evidence of research initiative
  5. construct coherent arguments which demonstrate an awareness of the problems posed by the texts / issues which they are studying
Reading List
Assia Djebar, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment (1980)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, West-Eastern Divan (1819) -- extracts

Teju Cole, Open City (2011)

J.M. Coetzee, Childhood of Jesus (2013)

Janice Galloway, Foreign Parts (1994)

V.S. Naipaul, The Enigma of Arrival (1987)

Orhan Pamuk, 'Nobel Lecture: My Father's Suitcase' (2006)

Susan Sontag, 'The World as India: The St. Jerome Lecture on Literary Translation' (2003), in At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches (2007)

Yoko Tawada, 'Where Europe Begins', in Where Europe Begins (1991)

Secondary Texts
(* indicates core reading)

Apter, Emily, 'Saidian Humanism', boundary 2, 31.2 (2004), 35-53

-- 'Afterlife of a Discipline', Comparative Literature, 57.3 (2005), 201-206

-- 'Untranslatables: A World System', New Literary History, 39.3 (Summer 2008), 581-98

-- 'Philosophizing World Literature', Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, 16.2. (March 2012), 171-86

*-- Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability (New York and London: Verso, 2013)

Auerbach, Erich, 'Philologie der Weltliteratur', in Weltliteratur: Festgabe für Fritz Strich zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. Walter Muschg and Emil Staiger (Bern: A. Francke, 1952), pp. 39-50

Beebee, Thomas Oliver, ed., German Literature as World Literature, Literatures as World Literature (New York, London, etc.: Bloomsbury, 2014) -- there are various volumes of X Literature as World Literature in this series

Beecroft, Alexander, An Ecology of World Literature: From Antiquity to the Present Day (London and New York: Verso, 2015)

Bernheimer, Charles, ed., Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995)

Braun, Rebecca, and Andrew Piper, eds., World Authorship and German Literature (Seminar special issue) (2015)

Brouillette, Sarah, Postcolonial Writers in the Global Literary Marketplace (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

*Casanova, Pascale, The World Republic of Letters, trans. M. B. Debevoise (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2004)

*Damrosch, David, What Is World Literature? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003)

-- ed., World Literature in Theory (Malden, MA, and Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2014)

Damrosch, David, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, 'Comparative Literature/World Literature: A Discussion with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and David Damrosch', Comparative Literature Studies, 48.2 (2011), 455-485

D'haen, Theo, David Damrosch, and Djelal Kadir, eds, The Routledge Companion to World Literature (London and New York: Routledge, 2013 [2011])

D'haen, Theo, César Domíngues, and Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, eds, World Literature: A Reader (London and New York: Routledge, 2013)

Dimock, Wai-chee, 'Genre as World System: Epic and Novel on Four Continents', Narrative, 14.1 (Jan. 2006), 85-101

-- Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature (Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007)

-- 'Weak Theory: Henry James, Colm Tóibín, and W. B. Yeats', Critical Inquiry, no. 39 (Summer 2013), 732-53

Domínguez, César, Haun Saussy, and Darío Villanueva, Introducing Comparative Literature: New Trends and Applications (London and New York: Routledge, 2015) [contains a chapter on 'World Literature as Comparative Practice']

Elias, Amy J., and Christian Moraru, The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the Twenty-First Century (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2015)

Dabashi, Hamid, The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism (London and New York: Zed Books, 2012)

Huggan, Graham, The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins (London and New York: Routledge, 2001)

Kadir, Djelal, 'Comparative Literature in an Age of Terrorism', in Comparative Literature in the Age of Globalization, ed. Haun Saussy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), pp. 68-77

Levine, Caroline, and B. Venkat Mani, 'What Counts as World Literature', special issue What Counts as World Literature?, ed. Caroline Levine and B. Venkat Mani, Modern Language Quarterly, 74.2 (June 2013), 141-49

*Moretti, Franco, 'Conjectures on World Literature', New Left Review, no. 1 (Jan.-Feb. 2000), 54-68

*-- 'More Conjectures', New Left Review, no. 20 (Mar.-Apr. 2003), 73-81

-- 'World-Systems Analysis, Evolutionary Theory, "Weltliteratur"', Review, 28.3 (2005), 217-28

-- Distant Reading (London and New York: Verso, 2013)

Mufti, Aamir, Forget English! Orientalisms and World Literature (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 2016)

Palumbo-Liu, David, The Deliverance of Others: Reading Literature in a Global Age (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012)

Pizer, John, 'Goethe's "World Literature" Paradigm and Contemporary Cultural Globalization', Comparative Literature, 52.3 (2000), 213-27

-- 'Cosmopolitanism and Weltliteratur', Goethe Yearbook, 13 (2005), 165-79

-- The Idea of World Literature: History and Pedagogical Practice (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006)

Prendergast, Christopher, ed., Debating World Literature (New York: Verso, 2004)

*Rosendahl Thomsen, Mads, Mapping World Literature: International Canonization and Transnational Literatures (London and New York: Continuum, 2010 [2008])

Said, Edward. 'The Text, the World, the Critic', The Bulletin of the Midwest Modern Language Association 8.2 (Autumn 1975), 1-23

Saussy, Haun, 'The Dimensionality of World Literature', Neohelicon 38 (2011), 289-94

-- 'Interplanetary Literature' (2011 ACLA Presidential Address), Comparative Literature, 63.4 (2011), 438-47

*Siskind, Mariano, 'The Globalization of the Novel and the Novelization of the Global: A Critique of World Literature', Comparative Literature 62.4 (2010), 336-60

Shi, Shu-mei, 'Comparative Racialization: An Introduction', PMLA, 123.5 (Special Topic: Comparative Racialization) (Oct. 2008), 1347-62

-- 'Comparison as Relation', in Comparison: Theories, Approaches, Uses, ed. by Rita Felski and Susan S. Friedman (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), pp. 79-98

*-- 'World Studies and Relational Comparison', PMLA, 130.2 (March 2015), 430-38

*Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, Death of a Discipline (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003)

Trumpener, Katie, 'World Music, World Literature: A Geopolitical View', in Comparative Literature in the Age of Globalization, ed. Haun Saussy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), pp. 185-202

*Venkat Mani, B., Recoding World Literature: Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany's Pact with Books (New York: Fordham University Press, 2017)

Walkowitz, Rebecca L., 'The Location of Literature: The Transnational Book and the Migrant Writer', Contemporary Literature 47.4 (Winter 2006), 527-45

*-- Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015)

Wellek, René, A History of Modern Criticism: 1750-1950, vol. 1: The Later Eighteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955)

Wellek, René, and Austin Warren, Theory of Literature (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop graduate skills in all four clusters of ability: A) research and inquiry; B) personal and intellectual autonomy; C) communication; and D) personal effectiveness. In particular students will:
A) be able to exercise critical judgement in creating new understanding; be read yo ask key questions; be able to critically assess existing understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and recognise the need to regularly challenge all knowledge; search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding; recognise the importance of reflecting on their learning experiences and be aware of their own learning style
B) be open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking; be creative and imaginative thinkers; be independent learners; be able to make decisions; be intellectually curious
C) make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding; seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness
D) have the confidence to make decisions based on their understandings and their personal and intellectual autonomy; be able to work effectively with others
KeywordsWorld Literature,transnationalism,cosmpolitanism,worldliness,genre
Course organiserDr Frauke Matthes
Tel: (0131 6)51 1483
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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