Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Narrative Across Cultures

ENGL 103.402

In this course we will read several types of narratives—drama, frame tales, short stories and novels---written in different periods and in different parts of the world. We will trace how these narratives traveled from one part of the world to another, and changed as they did so. We will discuss the different techniques of story-telling as they evolved over these travels in time and space, and how attitudes to love and war, sexuality and power changed or were similar. In this way, we will consider how literature reveals historical connections and conversations, as well as asks large philosophical questions shared across cultures.

Readings will likely include the Sanskrit play, The Little Clay Cart, Sophocles’ masterpiece, Antigone, stories from the Buddhist Jataka Tales, the Panchantantra, Aesop’s Fables, A Thousand and One Nights, and from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales,

Shakespeare’s Othello, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Tayib Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.

fulfills requirements
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major