I have the opportunity to develop a World Literature course for English II. It’s definitely something I feel there’s a need for, because the literature we typically have access to in our curriculum is heavily Anglocentric. To some degree, that makes sense, because, well, we’re studying English.
On the other hand, as Rudine Sims Bishop points out, different texts serve different purposes.
She writes, “Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience.”
Even though this is English class, I believe there is a need to study literature from other cultures. Literature (and art in general) is not part of the English experience, but part of the human experience. It’s important to look at where those experiences are similar, and where they’re different – and to see what that tells us. With this in mind, I think an introductory World Literature course should explore how literary conventions have developed in different cultures throughout the world.
However, I’m beginning to worry that I may have been too ambitious.