ENGLISH 475 - Studies in World Literatures in English
Section: 001 The World as Mystery
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

How do we uncover the truth when the world is shrouded in mystery? How should we live under conditions of enigma, secrecy, crime, and in the face of seemingly unknowable events? How do we know that what we know is the truth?

Contemporary novelists often take up such existential questions with a view toward a marketplace of global readers. They use genres of mystery and detection to write for the world, but they also use those genres to imagine “the world” itself. This course examines the stakes of such imaginative work through fiction by Ruth Ozeki, Orhan Pamuk, Ahmed Saadawi, Haruki Murakami, Louise Erdrich, and others. We’ll consider how contemporary narratives of mystery and detection create networks of global or international connection that make “the world” an intelligible idea; yet at the same time, fictional characters experience those networks through genre conventions centering on the obscure, the illicit, and the hidden. In other words, students will examine the paradox of a “world literature” that depicts its constitutive term (the world) as a fundamental mystery. Students will be asked to think about the literary form and philosophy of this paradox.

Course Requirements:

Assignments will include one conference-style presentation, a final paper, and weekly discussion contributions.

ENGLISH 475 - Studies in World Literatures in English
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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