Through a discussion of paired texts--the book of Exodus and Frederick Douglass's *Narrative*; Dante's *Inferno* and Primo Levi's *Survival in Auschwitz*; Euripides' *The Bacchae* and Marge Piercy's *Woman on the Edge of Time*; Joseph Conrad's *Heart of Darkness* and Ngugi wa Thiong'o's *Matigari*--we will consider journeys, often from exile, to liberation. In every case the texts tell a story in which the idea of civilization (a most problematic concept) is affirmed or challenged. Each asks fundamental questions about culture at moments of stress or dissolution. Each insists that we consider cultural or cross-cultural conflict. Our goal will be to answer, or begin to answer, such questions as they emerge from literary sources, with careful attention to language and artistry and to the transmission of texts across languages as well as across cultures. Requirements include class participation, 4 short papers, and a term paper.
Note: This course may count toward the English major.