COMP 264 Fall 2012 Beauty, Danger, and the End of the World in Japanese Literature

Cross Listed as JAPN254
From the endemic warfare of the medieval era to the atomic bombing and the violent explosion of technology in the last century, the end of the world is an idea which has occupied a central place in almost every generation of Japanese literature. Paradoxically, the spectacle of destruction has given birth to some of the most beautiful, most moving, and most powerfully thrilling literature in the Japanese tradition. Texts may be drawn from medieval war narratives like The Tale of the Heike; World War II fiction and films by Ibuse Masuji, Imamura Shohei, and Ichikawa Kon; fantasy and science fiction novels by Abe Kobo, Murakami Haruki and Murakami Ryu; and apocalyptic comics and animation by Oshii Mamoru, Otomo Katsuhiro, and others. The class and the readings are in English; no familiarity with Japanese language or culture is required.
Class Format: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: in-class exam, ungraded creative project, and a few short response assignments, plus two 5- to 7-page papers emphasizing original, creative readings of the literary texts
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Prerequisites: none; open to all
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Department Notes: this course is part of the Gaudino Initiative on Danger
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: INST East Asian Studies Electives
Enrollment Limit: none
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1368
COMP264-01(F) LEC Japanese Lit: End of the World Division 1: Languages and the Arts Christopher A. Bolton
TF 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Schapiro Hall 241 1368
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