Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Course Outline

FALL 2008

Sukiyaki - Mixed English Representations of "Japan"

“World Literatures in English” is an opportunity to study English literature from and of regions other than Britain and North America. Accordingly, we will experience Japan as it is presented through an eclectic range of types of world English literature. Japanese-born Kazuo Ishiguro writes English novels with, it is argued, a samurai sensibility. Nigerian-English writer and illustrator Siku, famous for his Judge Dredd series, adopted the Japanese sensibility to create the controversial Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation with Jesus as “a samurai stranger who’s come to town, in silhouette.” An Australian, James Clavell, wrote, beside a series of vivid historical novels set in Japan, the artistically impressive King Rat: a fictionalised retelling of his own imprisonment in Japan’s notorious Changi concentration camp during WWII. Newdigate-prize poet Robert Twigger won the W. Somerset Maugham award for fiction for the book he wrote while in Japan: Angry White Pyjamas: How a Scrawny Oxford Poet took Lessons from the Tokyo Riot Police. At the turn of the past century, Chinese-American writer Winnifred Eaton published several successful Orientalist works of fiction under the pen-name “Onoto Watanna”, including the highly successful A Japanese Nightingale. And an example of a Japanese novel popular in translation is Haruki Murakami’s rendering of modern Japanese life into an English sensibility encapsulated in the Beatles’ elegiac Norwegian Wood.

PREREQUISITES: Credit or standing in two 100-division English courses and two 200-division English courses.

Siku The Manga Bible
Kazuo, Ishiguro The Remains of the Day
Clavell, James King Rat
Eaton, Winnifred A Japanese Nightingale
Murakami, Haruki Norwegian Wood
Twigger, Robert Angry White Pyjamas

Davies & Ikeno The Japanese Mind
10% Productive participation
15% Three short writing presentations
20% Group project: Aspects of Japanese Culture
20% Mid-term essay (approx. 2000 words)
35% Final essay (approx. 3000 words)

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