World Literature

To promote cultural literacy and understanding in an increasingly global society, the Departments of English and Foreign Languages and Literatures schedule a variety of courses in World Literature. Students will explore literature beyond national boundaries and may draw relationships between literature and other areas of knowledge.

The Lawrence Rudner Option in World Literature, offered by the Department of English, and the Minor in World Literature, offered by both departments, enhance students' ability to discover and create new meaning in a global society.


Please note that sections of cross-listed World literature courses are designated in the Catalog by either the prefix ENG or the prefix FL, depending upon the home department of the instructor.

Readings are in English translation.

Readings in traditional literature, in translation, from Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, China, Japan, and the Americas. Students will be introduced to the origins and efflorescence of these oldest cultures through the oral and written stories, poems, essays, and plays that have become the defining work of these societies. At the same time, students will examine the geographical, historical, and political contexts from which these texts arose. Readings may include such works as the Upanishads, the Ramayana, the Sundiata, Gilgamesh, A Thousand and One Nights, and the Quran and such authors as Confucius, Oe Kenzaburo, Omar Khayyam, and Rumi.

Readings in English translation of Western literary masterpieces from the beginning of literacy in the Middle East and Europe to the present. May include such authors as Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Ovid, Augustine Dante, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Cervantes Swift, Goethe, Austen, Flaubert, and Woolf.

Readings from Biblical, Classical, Medieval, and Early Renaissance literature including such authors as Homer, Plato, Sappho, Virgil, Ovid, St. Augustine, Marie de France, and Dante. Films will be shown to complement readings. Emphasis on the interrelations of the arts and literature in a social context.

A study of Western literature from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Authors may include Molière, Blake, Goethe, Ibsen, Kafka, Woolf, Eliot, and Pirandello. Emphasis on the relationships between literature, history, politics, the visual arts, and music.

Twentieth-century literature of some of the following cultures: Russian, Eastern European, Latin American, Canadian, and Australian.

A survey of contemporary imaginative literature by Asian, Arab, African, and Native American writers. Discussion of major themes, stylistic developments, and connections between literature and recent history.

Intensive study in English, of the writings of one (or two) author(s) from outside the English and American traditions. Sample subjects: Homer, Virgil and Ovid, Lady Murasaki, Marie de France and Christine de Pizan, Dante, Cervantes, Goethe, Balzac and Flaubert, Kafka, Proust, Lessing and Gordimer, Borges and Marquez, Neruda, Achebe, Soyinka, Calvino, Walcott and Naipaul. Topics will vary from semester to semester.

Concentrated treatment of one literary genre, such as the epic, the lyric, the drama, satire, romance, autobiography, the essay, the novel, or the short story. Treatment of materials from several national or ethnic cultures and several periods. All readings in English.

Study of a subject in world literature; for example, African literature, Asian literature, Hispanic literature, East European literature, comedy, the epic, the lyric, autobiography, the Faust legend, or metamorphosis. Subjects vary according to availability of faculty.

International modernist movement in literature, from its nineteenth-century origins to its culmination in the early twentieth century. Definitions of modernity, as embodied in a variety of genres. Placement of Modernist
texts within a variety of cultures that produced them.

Literary expressions of Postmodernism, from its origins in the Modernist movement through its culmination in the later decades of the twentieth century. Definitions of postmodernity, as embodied in a variety of genres. Placement of Postmodernist texts within a variety of cultures that have produced them.

Rotating topics in world literature, including treatment of materials from more than one culture including consideration of subject's theoretical or methodological framework. Readings in English (original language encouraged but not required). Junior or senior standing.

Rotating topics in world literature, including treatment of the subject's theoretical or methodological framework. Possible subjects: colonialism and literature; orality and literature; the Renaissance; the Enlightenment; translation; comparison of North and South American literatures; African literary traditions; postmodernism and gender.


(Ph.D., Columbia University)

Anne Baker spent three years as Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College. She joined the English department at NC State in 2001. She specializes in American literature and culture.

John Balaban is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose, including four volumes which together have won The Academy of American Poets' Lamont prize, a National Poetry Series Selection, and two nominations for the National Book Award.  His Locusts at the Edge of Summer: New and Selected Poems won the 1998 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.  He was a 2003 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the 2001-2004 Phi Kappa Phi “National Artist.”

(Ph.D., University of Kentucky)

Brian Blackley teaches courses in European literature for the program. His interests include Renaissance satire and the western sonnet tradition.

(Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara) 

Helga Braunbeck teaches courses in European literature for the program. She is the author of a book on Christa Wolf and articles on contemporary German literature.

(Ph.D., University of Washington)

Greg Dawes teaches Latin American literature, Comparative Literature, and Postmodernism for the program. He also serves as Editor of 
A Contracorriente, a peer-reviewed journal in Latin American Studies, and Managing Editor of Editorial A Contracorriente.

(Ph.D., Georgetown University)

Meredith Fosque teaches Chinese literature in translation as well as courses in Western and non-Western literatures for the program. Her research and course development interests are now focused on South Asian literatures, in particular the evolution of Indian critical theory.

(Ph.D., Princeton University)

Michael Grimwood teaches courses in American literature, Southern Literature, and Twentieth-Century literature as well as courses in European literatures for the program. Author of
 Heart in Conflict: Faulkner's Struggles with Vocation, he has received departmental, college, and university awards for distinguished research and for outstanding teaching.

(Ph.D., Columbia University)

Charlotte Gross teaches courses in European literature for the program, as well as special topics courses such as "Arthurian Legend" and "Medieval Women Writers. She has published essays on medieval philosophy, the songs of the troubadours, Chaucer, and Middle English poetry.

(Ph.D., Yale University) 

Ruth Gross is the author of 
PLAN and the Austrian Rebirth (1982), and the editor ofCritical Essays on Franz Kafka (1990). She has twice been president of the Kafka Society of America.

(Ph.D., Harvard University)

Nick Halpern specializes in twentieth-century literature and has taught courses in contemporary poetry, American and European modernism (prose and poetry), Holocaust literature, the memoir, and Proust. A recipient of the CHASS Outstanding Teaching Award.

(Ph.D., University of Florida)

Thomas Hester teaches English and Continental Renaissance literature for the program. Author and editor of eight books and more than fifty essays on Renaissance literature, founding editor of the John Donne Journal, and editor of Renaissance Papers, he has received numerous awards for teaching and research.

(Ph.D., University of Rochester) 

Hans Kellner teaches courses in European literature and European intellectual history. He is a former NC State Faculty Senate President. He is the author of numerous articles on these subjects.

(Ph.D., Ohio State University)

Anita Kerr teaches courses in World Literature for the program.

(Ph.D., Columbia University)

Dudley Marchi 
teaches courses in ancient and modern literature for the program. His other teaching interests include French language, literature, culture, civilization, and art history. He has published a book on Michel de Montaigne as well as articles on modern literature, translations, and original poetry; he has received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award. and is currently doing reasearch on French-American relations in the nineteenth century.

(Ph.D., Cornell University)

John Mertz teaches courses in Japanese and Asian literature for the program. He specializes in nineteenth-century Japanese Literature and issues of social and literary change, and has published on Japanese journalism, politics, nationalism, fashion, censorship, and public hygiene.

(Ph.D., SUNY Buffalo)

Larysa Mykyta teaches courses in Francophone and contemporary world literature for the program. Her research interests include Francophone literature and film, feminist criticism, and literary theory.

(Ph.D., McGill University)

Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi teaches courses in African literature, Colonial and Post-Colonial Studies, and feminist theory. She is the author of 
Gender in African Women's Writing, a collection of short stories, and numerous articles. She has won an award for teaching.

(Ph.D., Emory University) 

Elaine Orr teaches courses in African literature, women's literature and modernism courses for the program. She is the author of a book on Tillie Olsen and a book on contemporary women authors. 
Gods of Noonday: A White Girl's African Life is her memoir of her childhood in Nigeria.

(Ph.D., Emory University) 

​Maria Pramaggiore teaches world film courses. Co-editor of a collection of essays on Queer Theory, she is currently finishing a book on depictions of the Irish in U.S. cinema. She is the recipient of the 1999 Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, and an Outstanding Teaching Award, as well as a Fullbright Fellowship.

(Ph.D., SUNY Stony Brook)

Carmine Prioli teaches special topics courses for the program. Author of an edition of General George Patton's poems and a book on the horses of the Outer Banks, he writes on various aspects of American culture including specially colonial American literature. 

(Ph.D., Ohio State University) 

Maria G. Rouphail teaches courses in the Western literary canon from antiquity to the early Renaissance and the modern and postmodern periods (twentieth century). Her interests include nineteenth-century American literature, Latin American literature, postcolonial literature and theory, and the literature of Western mysticism. 

(Ph.D., Duke University)

Sheila Smith McKoy teaches courses in African literature, Caribbean literature, and the African Diaspora. She is the author or When Whites Riot: Writing Race and Violence in American and South African Cultures, and numerous articles. She is currently director of the Africana Studies Program and Editor of 
Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora.

(Ph.D., Duke University)

Allen Stein teaches a course in Realism and Naturalism in Europe and America. He also teaches survey courses in American literature, as well as undergraduate and graduate courses in American Romanticism and American Realism and Naturalism. He is the author of
 After the Vows Were Spoken: Marriage in American Literary Realism (Ohio State University Press), a study of a minor New York writer of the mid-nineteenth century and Women and Autonomy in Kate Chopin's Short Fiction. He has also written many scholarly articles on topics in American literature. 

(Ph.D., Louisiana State University) 

Jon Thompson teaches modernism and contemporary world literature for the program. His research interests include Irish literature and culture theory, and nineteenth and early twentieth century detective fiction.

(Ph.D., Harvard University) 

Mary Ann Witt is the primary author of a textbook, 
The Humanities: Cultural Roots and Continuities, now in its fifth edition. The book approaches literature from a variety of traditions in relation to other humanistic disciplines. She is also the author of Existential Prisons, a book on twentieth-century French writers, and of numerous essays on modern European literature.

Contact Us

Dr. Larysa Mykyta
Associate Professor
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Office:  1911 Building, 219
Phone:  919-515-9314

Dr. Maria Rouphail
Academic Advisor
Department of English
Office: Tompkins Hall, 116
Phone: 919-515-4130