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ENGL 255: Global Literatures in English

Wayne Moreland and Thomas Frosch

(Submission #147)

Course Description

Catalog description: This course is a historical study of the diversity of modern and contemporary Anglophone and related literatures translated into English encompassing the transnational and postcolonial nature of much modern writing in English.

As a consequence of their reading, their research, their discussion, and their writing of and about texts from a vast range of authors from a wide range of locales and writing in a language that is resplendent in its diversity and adaptability, students will become conversant with a myriad of linguistic and literary traditions and the socio-historic circumstances that shape these writers and their response to the world. The class will examine a wide range of prose styles and narrative approaches, from realism to “magic realism” and will also pay particular attention to the varied approaches to language the writers employ. We will read the highly polished prose of one of the acknowledged masters of English language writing, James Joyce; we’ll read the writing of the Polish-born novelist, Conrad; the hybrid languages of Diaz, Rushdie, Smith; the magical and fantastical language of Garcia Marquez. The assumption of this class is that each writer’s style and language use is the result not only of his or her aesthetic choices but also the writer’s place in time and the writer’s response to the form of English available (the obvious exception is Garcia Marquez, whose work we’ll read in translation). Therefore, we will be trying to understand how the writer uses his or her resources to create meaning, and, moreover, meaning through what in each case is a “borrowed” language. We shall also take a sampling of the critical literature as it abuts our concerns. The writings are chosen for their importance and for their ability to be framed as representative of trends,concerns, and literary value. Central to this course is an understanding and an appreciation of the various forms of English that are used by peoples and cultures from around the world, and the corresponding understanding that these usages are the result of historical forces and processes that surface in the very definition of diversity The course may include works that were originally written in other languages but which have had tremendous impact upon Anglophone writers and are vital to understanding the themes of the course.. Students will read poetry, short fiction, novels, plays, essays, political studies, autobiographies, and travel narratives. In addition, the course offers a sampling of theoretical reading and readings in criticism.

This course seeks to challenge students by posing offering questions for their consideration: What are the qualities of a national literature? How do writers of different backgrounds respond to similar circumstances? What are the difficulties inherent in forming a literary language from the leavings of colonialism? What are the effects of exile or diaspora upon the literary imagination? How does the writer make use of his or her own “national culture”? Or, conversely, what is his or her relationship to a metropolitan culture? How are the realities of race and class confronted in individual texts? Is the writer a spokesperson for “his people”? Or should she be? The course seeks to confront these questions through close readings of primary texts that would include fiction, non-fiction prose, poetry, and drama; the course will also allow and encourage students to read these texts through a critical lens provided by various critics and theorists. The students will be engaged in discussion, in research projects, provide oral presentation, use electronic media, and, of course, through their own writing.


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Reading Literature (RL)
Context of Experience: World Cultures (WC)
Extended Requirement: Not Applicable

Additional Course information

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: English 165w or 170W
Existing Course: Existing
Existing Course Number: 255
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 5
Number of Seats: 25


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (DOC)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

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