About the Program
The World Literature program introduces students to the comparative study of literary works from cultures around the world. Today’s global world requires a global perspective. World Literature provides a means to approach world cultures in their own voices, to explore their ways of thinking and worldviews. Literature expresses human values and dilemmas, with both great diversity over place and time and some universal human themes.
Faculty from the world languages, Classics, English, Theatre, and area studies participate in this interdisciplinary program. All works are read in English translation. Qualified students can read works in the original languages or include advanced reading courses in the languages. We study works from several contexts: local cultures, authors’ lives, literary genres and traditions, and cross-cultural transmission effected through the process of translation. The cooperative, interdisciplinary approach creates connections among faculty, among students, and across cultures.
An introductory team-taught course introduces works from different cultures, taught by experts in those languages and regions, as well as different methods of studying literature in relation to culture. After the introductory course, students take a course in the theory and practice of translation and three reading courses.
Directors: John Lenz, Classics; Carol Ueland, Russian