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Harvard University

Masterpieces of World Literature

Harvard University via edX


This literature course explores how great writers refract their world and how their works are transformed when they intervene in our global cultural landscape today.

No national literature has ever grown up in isolation from the cultures around it; from the earliest periods, great works of literature have probed the tensions, conflicts, and connections among neighboring cultures and often more distant regions as well.

Focusing particularly on works of literature that take the experience of the wider world as their theme, this course will explore the varied artistic modes in which great writers have situated themselves in the world, helping us to understand the deep roots of today's intertwined global cultures.

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HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read ourresearch statement to learn more.

Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from pa`rticipation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please [email protected] and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.


Texts/authors considered in the course:

Section 1:Goethe and the Birth of World Literature
Section 2: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Section 3: Homer, The Odyssey
Section 4: The 1001 Nights
Section 5: Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
Section 6: The Lusiads
Section 7: Voltaire, Candide
Section 8:Lu Xun and Eileen Chang
Section 9: Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones
Section 10:Wole Soyinka, Death and the King's Horseman
Section 11:Salman Rushdie and Jhumpa Lahiri
Section 12: Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red

Taught by

David Damrosch and Martin Puchner


4.8 rating, based on 4 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at edX based on 21 ratings

Start your review of Masterpieces of World Literature

  • Lyka Pacleb
    "Masterpieces of World Literature" is a great lecture-centered MOOC about introducing one to the most fundamental works of world literature. I personally did not know most of the key works featured in the course, but that wasn't a hindrance in the l…
  • I enjoyed this course and found it both enriching and enjoyable. Even though having an experience with any of the works discussed or invoked can deepen your understanding of the subject matter, it's by no means a requirement.
  • Anonymous
    An enlightening tour of world literature with interesting speakers. Introduced me to several authors I had not previously considered. Very much worth the time spent.
  • Maristela Lautenschlager Moro
    Ainda não comecei o curso, mas pela lista de livros a serem estudados creio que agregará conhecimentos.


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