In these classes we will attempt to understand something of the nature of Japanese fiction writing by
comparative close reading of Japanese texts with those by Western (European and American) writers.
Evidence of influence and assimilation may be observable from West to East, particularly in the early
years of the 20th century, but in all cases we will attempt to identify both what is distinctive, and what
the different literary traditions have in common. By close reading and comparative analysis we should
be afforded some useful insights into Japanese prose fiction writing—particularly that of the short
Each class will focus on a pair of texts: one by a Japanese and one by a Western writer. The texts chosen
will be relatively short, wherever possible complete short stories. All texts will be discussed on the basis
of their English language translation, although students who are able to read the originals are welcome
to add this knowledge to the discussion. In any case, it is imperative to the functioning of the class that
all participants make time to read the set texts beforehand. Only those who have made this effort will
be able to participate usefully in the discussion. Those who do not feel their English ability is adequate
to reading several pages of English each week should not take this class.
The texts will be read in roughly chronological order.
Message to Those Taking This Course:
Please take to heart the final comments in the course description regarding the need to read texts in
Class Participation (Including Attendance) 50%
Final Report (3,000—3,500 words) 50%