How does literature both connect cultures across time and space and speak about what is specific to each culture? In this course we will read several types of stories written in different periods and in different parts of the world, ranging from classical Greek and Sanskrit drama to modern African, European, American, and Asian fiction. Many of these texts are very well known, have had long afterlives, and have been adapted and rewritten in distant spaces and times. In some cases, we will engage with these retellings. Others directly embody the coming together or friction between cultures and peoples. By studying them, we can reflect on how literary texts reflect the cultures in which they were produced, and have a capacity to travel across cultures.