English (ENGL) 341

World Literature (Revision 2)

ENGL 344

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 6

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: ENGL 211 and ENGL 212 or equivalent first year English course(s).

Precluded Courses: ENGL 335, ENGL 336, and LTST 551

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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English 341 is a six-credit senior-level course that introduces students to literature from around the world. Students will read literary works from the ancient world to today in a variety of forms, including epic poetry, Athenian drama, religious song, modern verse, haiku, modernist prose, short fiction, autobiography, political treatise, letter, report, and travelogue. Canonical and lesser-known authors—from Homer to Jamaica Kincaid, Confucius to Hanan Al-Shaykh—reflect the scope and complexity of this contested field of literary studies. By facilitating the comparative analysis of form and content, the course explores the history of communication in global contexts and speaks to the relevance of world literature in the twenty-first century.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • evaluate historical developments and prominent topics in world literature
  • apply close reading and research skills to consider assigned texts and course topics
  • assess how thematic resources in course texts communicate cultural practices
  • analyze how literary concepts operate within specific texts
  • reflect on the relationship between world literature and modern life
  • create thoughtful, articulate, original critical analyses of one (or more) assigned texts


Part 1

  • Unit 1: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Literature—The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Unit 2: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Literature—Homer
  • Unit 3: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Literature—Ancient Athenian Drama
  • Unit 4: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Literature—Virgil
  • Unit 5: Ancient India
  • Unit 6: Early Chinese Literature and Thought
  • Unit 7: Circling the Mediterranean—Europe and the Islamic World
  • Unit 8: Medieval China
  • Unit 9: Japan’s Classical Age
  • Unit 10: Islam and Pre-Islamic Culture in North Africa
  • Unit 11: Europe and the New World—Niccolò Machiavelli and Michel de Montaigne
  • Unit 12: Europe and the New World—Marguerite de Navarre and the Popol Vuh

Part 2

  • Unit 13: Literatures of Early Modern East Asia
  • Unit 14: The Enlightenment in Europe and the Americas
  • Unit 15: An Age of Revolutions—Frederick Douglass
  • Unit 16: An Age of Revolutions—Charles Baudelaire and Emily Dickinson
  • Unit 17: At the Crossroads of Empire—Nguyễn Du
  • Unit 18: At the Crossroads of Empire—Ghalib and Rabindranath Tagore
  • Unit 19: Realism across the Globe
  • Unit 20: Modernity and Modernism, 1900–1945—Franz Kafka
  • Unit 21: Modernity and Modernism, 1900–1945—T. S. Eliot and Pablo Neruda
  • Unit 22: Postwar and Post-Colonial Literature, 1945–1968—Albert Camus
  • Unit 23: Postwar and Post-Colonial Literature, 1945–1968—Chinua Achebe and Naguib Mahfouz
  • Unit 24: Contemporary World Literature


To receive credit for English 341 you must achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) on the two exams and achieve a composite course grade of at least D (50 percent). All assignments are required in order to pass the course. The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Activity Credit Weight
Assignment 1: Study Questions 10%
Assignment 2: Literary Analysis 15%
Midterm Exam 20%
Assignment 3: Making Connections 10%
Assignment 4: Comparative Research 25%
Final Exam 20%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Puchner, Martin, general editor. The Norton Anthology: World Literature: Shorter Fourth Edition: Volume 1. W. W. Norton & Company, 2019.

Puchner, Martin, general editor. The Norton Anthology: World Literature: Shorter Fourth Edition: Volume 2. W. W. Norton & Company, 2019.

Other Materials

All other materials, including a Course Information, Study Guide, and Supplementary Materials, can be found online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, Jan 9, 2020