Teaching World Literature

  • Editor: David Damrosch
  • Pages: viii & 432 pp.
  • Published: 2009
  • ISBN: 9781603290333 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9781603290340 (Paperback)
Teaching World Literature Cover
“This book should be very helpful for anyone teaching literature that crosses regional, cultural or historical boundaries and who wants to take the issues inevitably involved in such breadth seriously.”Colloquy

“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.

Emily Apter
Carolyn Ayers
Thomas Beebee
Monika Brown
Vilashini Cooppan
Wai Chee Dimock
Margaret Doody
Caroline D. Eckhardt
Nikolai Endres
Carol Fadda-Conrey
John Burt Foster, Jr.
Raymond-Jean Frontain
Jeanne Gillespie
Gary Harrison
Valerie Henitiuk
Margaret R. Higonnet
Elizabeth Horan
Oscar Kenshur
Kathleen L. Komar
Sarah Lawall
Zhang Longxi
Carol J. Luther
Joseph A. Massad
Collin Meissner
Anuradha Dingwaney Needham
Jane O. Newman
Michael Palencia-Roth
Ellen Peel
C. A. Prettiman
Elvira Pulitano
Marjorie E. Rhine
Eric Sterling
Lawrence Venuti
Kathryn A. Walterscheid

Introduction: All the World in the Time (1)

David Damrosch

Part I: Issues and Definitions

Introduction (15)

The West and the Rest: Frames for World Literature (17)

Sarah Lawall

The Ethics of World Literature: Reading Others, Reading Otherwise (34)

Vilashini Cooppan

Literary World-Systems (44)

Emily Apter

What Is Literature? Reading across Cultures (61)

Zhang Longxi

The Place of Difference in Cross-Cultural Literacy (73)

Anuradha Dingwaney Needham

Teaching in Translation (86)

Lawrence Venuti

Part II: Program Strategies

Introduction (99)

Teaching World Literature in a Microcosm of the World (101)

Kathleen L. Komar

Habits of Mind: Comparative Literature Meets the World (110)

Oscar Kenshur

The Afterlives of the Greeks; or, What Is the Canon of World Literature? (121)

Jane O. Newman

Western Voices: Western World Literature in a Learning Community (137)

Carol J. Luther

Pioneering Cross-Cultural Studies and World Literature at Illinois (145)

Michael Palencia-Roth

Cultural Encounters in Global Contexts: World Literature as a One-Semester General Education Course (155)

John Burt Foster, Jr.

World Literature and the Graduate Curriculum (165)

Caroline D. Eckhardt

“The World’s Story”: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century (179)

Collin Meissner and Margaret Doody

Part III: Teaching Strategies

Introduction (191)

Major Cultures and Minor Literatures (193)

David Damrosch

Conversation in Context: A Dialogic Approach to Teaching World Literature (205)

Gary Harrison

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

Elvira Pulitano

Weaving Women into World Literature (232)

Margaret R. Higonnet

Sexuality, Literature, and Human Rights in Translation (246)

Joseph A. Massad

Finding the Global in the Local: Explorations in Interdisciplinary Team Teaching (258)

Marjorie E. Rhine and Jeanne Gillespie

Beyond Lecture and Discussion: The World’s Oldest Approaches to Literature (266)

Thomas Beebee

Collaborative Assignments for World Literature Survey Courses (280)

Monika Brown

Part IV: Courses

Introduction (297)

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

Carolyn Ayers

American Literature and Islamic Time (306)

Wai Chee Dimock

Worlds of Difference? Gay and Lesbian Texts across Cultures (317)

Nikolai Endres

Middle Eastern Literature: An Introduction (331)

Carol Fadda-Conrey

Cosmos versus Empire: Teaching the Ramayana in a Comparative Context (343)

Raymond-Jean Frontain

Off to Join the Online Circus: The Comic Heroic Journey of World Literature (353)

Elizabeth Horan

Imagining the Constructed Body: From Statues to Cyborgs (362)

Ellen Peel

“Literature That Changed the World”: Designing a World Literature Course (377)

C. A. Prettiman

Teaching World Masterpieces through Religious Themes in Literature (385)

Eric Sterling

Ancient and Contemporary Texts: Teaching an Introductory Course in Non-Western Literatures (393)

Kathryn A. Walterscheid

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)