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Modern Language Association of America
Teaching World Literature

Teaching World Literature

by David Damrosch


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Teaching World Literature

This is an exciting, and unsettling, time to be teaching world literature, writes David Damrosch. Because the range of works taught in world literature courses has expanded enormously, both historically and geographically, the task of selection--and of teacher preparation--has grown more challenging. Teachers of this field must grapple with such issues as coverage, cultural difference, and the role of translation in the classroom. Should one emphasize masterpieces or traditions, concepts or themes? How does one avoid making a work bear the burden of representing an entire tradition? To what extent should anthologies be used? Can a course be global in scope and yet focus on a few works, authors, moments?

This collection of thirty-two essays in the MLA series Options for Teaching offers an array of solutions to these challenges, reflecting the wide variety of institutions, courses, and students described by the contributors. An annotated bibliography is provided, with a listing of useful Web sites.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603290340
Publisher: Modern Language Association of America
Publication date: 01/01/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David Damrosch is Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Institute for World Literature at Harvard University. A past president of the American Comparative Literature Association, he has written widely on comparative and world literature from antiquity to the present. His books include The Narrative Covenant: Transformations of Genre in the Growth of Biblical Literature, We Scholars: Changing the Culture of the University, What Is World Literature?, The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh, and How to Read World Literature.

Table of Contents

Introduction: All the World in the Time David Damrosch 1

Part I Issues and Definitions

Introduction 15

The West and the Rest: Frames for World Literature Sarah Lawall 17

The Ethics of World Literature: Reading Others, Reading Otherwise Vilashini Cooppan 34

Literary World-Systems Emily Apter 44

What Is Literature? Reading across Cultures Zhang Longxi 61

The Place of Difference in Cross-Cultural Literacy Anuradha Dingwaney Needham 73

Teaching in Translation Lawrence Venuti 86

Part II Program Strategies

Introduction 99

Teaching World Literature in a Microcosm of the World Kathleen L. Komar 101

Habits of Mind: Comparative Literature Meets the World Oscar Kenshur 110

The Afterlives of the Greeks; or, What Is the Canon of World Literature? Jane O. Newman 121

Western Voices: Western World Literature in a Learning Community Carol J. Luther 137

Pioneering Cross-Cultural Studies and World Literature at Illinois Michael Palencia-Roth 145

Cultural Encounters in Global Contexts: World Literature as a One-Semester General Education Course John Burt Foster, Jr. 155

World Literature and the Graduate Curriculum Caroline D. Eckhardt 165

"The World's Story": Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century Collin Meissner Margaret Doody 179

Part III Teaching Strategies

Introduction 191

Major Cultures and Minor Literatures David Damrosch 193

Conversation in Context: A Dialogic Approach to Teaching World Literature Gary Harrison 205

Writing in the Oral Tradition: Reflections on the Indigenous Literatures of Australia, New Zealand, and North America Elvira Pulitano 216

Weaving Women into World Literature Margaret R. Higonnet232

Sexuality, Literature, and Human Rights in Translation Joseph A. Massad 246

Finding the Global in the Local: Explorations in Interdisciplinary Team Teaching Marjorie E. Rhine Jeanne Gillespie 258

Beyond Lecture and Discussion: The World's Oldest Approaches to Literature Thomas Beebee 266

Collaborative Assignments for World Literature Survey Courses Monika Brown 280

Part IV Courses

Introduction 297

The Adventures of the Artist in World Literature: A One-Semester Thematic Approach Carolyn Ayers 299

American Literature and Islamic Time Wai Chee Dimock 306

Worlds of Difference? Gay and Lesbian Texts across Cultures Nikolai Endres 317

Middle Eastern Literature: An Introduction Carol Fadda-Conrey 331

Cosmos versus Empire: Teaching the Ramayana in a Comparative Context Raymond-Jean Frontain 343

Off to Join the Online Circus: The Comic Heroic Journey of World Literature Elizabeth Horan 353

Imagining the Constructed Body: From Statues to Cyborgs Ellen Peel 362

"Literature That Changed the World": Designing a World Literature Course C.A. Prettiman 377

Teaching World Masterpieces through Religious Themes in Literature Eric Sterling 385

Ancient and Contemporary Texts: Teaching an Introductory Course in Non-Western Literatures Kathryn A. Walterscheid 393

Part V Resources Valerie Henitiuk

Print Resources 403

Theory of World Literature 403

Anthologies, Literature Series, and Other References 404

Translation Studies 408

Cross-Cultural Reception and Influence 409

Web Resources 411

Notes on Contributors 417

Index 421

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