M 11:00-02:00 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Harsha Ram

How are we to understand “East” and “West” as objects of study, as discursive constructs that have apparently congealed into self-evident geographical realities?

We will study this dilemma in two ways:

(a) as a theoretical problem, starting with the problem of crosscultural comparison, before examining the history of East/West literary studies beginning with the birth of comparative philology and linguistics in the late 18th century and ending with more recent polemics on world literature in the wake of Edward Said, Fredric Jameson, and world-systems theory


(b) as a literary-historical problem, by examining three distinct moments in East-West literary relations: the eighteenth century, which we shall explore through the genre of European and Near Eastern travel narratives; the nineteenth century, in the context of the translation and adaptation of “oriental” texts and genres by European authors and the parallel adaptation of the European novel in the non-West; and the twentieth-century in the context of modernist (American and Russian) orientalisms as well as Asian anti-imperialist nationalisms.

Authors to be read will likely include Montesquieu, Sir William Jones, Friedrich Schlegel, Goethe, Kalidasa, Hafez, Tolstoi, Muhammad Tahir al-Qarakhi, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Ezra Pound, Velimir Khlebnikov, Mulkraj Anand and Raja Rao.