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Lucien Miller
Department of Comparative Literature
University of Massachusetts at Amherst



Comparative Literature/English
Spring, 1993

Lucien Miller Class: Wed: 4:00-6:30, Herter 118
316 South College, 545-0832 Office Hours: Mon 1-2. Tu 11-12

Theories of identity and difference, and the psychology of East-West colonialism, studied In relation to literary texts from China, India, Japan, Europe, and America. From the eighteentll century on: Western writers as diverse as Goethe, Flaubert, Kipling, Ezra Pound, Calvlno, Marguerite Duras, and Maxine Hong Kingston have portrayed different versions of the "East," while in the twentieth century Asian writers like Mlshima, Lu Hsun and R. K Narayan have been both attracted to Westernization and repelled by its contamination. Topics Include travel literature, literary canon, post colonialism, translation and culture, woman as other.

As we study Orientallsm as a Western reading of Asian cultures, and its counterpart in the Far East, Occldentaiism. we try to move beyond to a theory of alterity.


Guest speakers: lectures on East-West literary relations and Asia.

Texts (available at Jeffrey Amherst Books, 55 S Pleasant St., 413-253-3381):

Xerox selections from:


Jan 27 Introduction; Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Alterity; Bai slides

I. The Rising and Setting Sun: Orientalism and Occidentalism

Feb 3 Orientalism; Reading: Said, Orientalism (Xerox) first 100 pages

Feb 10 Occidentalism & the Criticism or Orientalism; Reading:Lewis, ed., As Others See Us, selected essays(X); Criticism of Said, selected essays (X)

II. "Wisdom" East & West and Its Western Interpreters

Feb 17 Thoreau, Walden, and the Gita; Reading: Bhagavad-Gita, trans. Barbara Miller; Miller essay, "Why Did Thoreau take the Gita to Walden Pond?" (end of Gita); C. D. Verma, The Gita in World Literature, selected essays (X); Josna Rege essay on western reception of Gita (X)
Note:Wed is a Monday (holiday), but we'll keep class on Wed

Feb 22 Thomas Merton & the "East;" Reading: Way of Chuang Tzu and Introduction, by Merton John Wu essay on Merton and East (X); Burton Watson, trans. Chuang Tzu passages to Merton's Chuang Tzu (X); Chuang Tzu text in Chinese (X)
Note:class on Monday, Feb. 22, as instructor away Feb 23-28

III. Representations versus "The Real" East

Mar 3 Divine, Erotic, and Exotic Love; Reading: Ramanujan, Speaking of Siva, Kopf essay in As Others See Us (X); excerpts from Kinsley, Sword & Flute (X)
Introductory Paper due

Mar 10 Imagining the "East" and the "West": Travel Literature; Reading: Calvino, Invisible Cities Mary Campbell, Introduction and chapter 3 "The Utter East" from Witness and the Other World IX]; excerpts from Marco Polo, trans. Ronald Latham (X)
Term Paper conferences this week, Mar 8-12

Spring vacation, March 13-21

IV. High and Low Literature: East-West concepts of Canonicity

Mar 24 Canonical?; Reading: Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, selections (X); Shulchi Kato, History of Japanese Literature, essay on Pillow Book
Term Paper Prospectus Due

Mar 31 Non-Canonical?; Reading: Miller, ed. Yunnan Tales (X); Miyazawa Kenji, Winds from Afar, Bestor trans., selections (X) or Night Train of the Milky Way Railway, Strong trans. Hagiwara "Innocence and the Other World" (on MIC)

V. Translation and Culture

Apr 7 The Native Informant; Reading: Yip, Hiding the Universe, selections (X); "What Is a Translation?" Fenollosa, Chinese Written Character

Apr 14 The Foreign Inventor; Reading: Barthes, Empire of Signs; Naff, "Empire of Signs" (X)

VI. Ethnicity and Migrant Literature

Apr 21 Colonial and Non Colonial; Reading: Gosh, Shadowlines; Ch'en Ying-chen, Exiles at Home, Miller trans., selections (X); Todorof, The Conquest of America, selections (X)

Apr 28 Migrant Literature; Reading: Amy Tan, The Kitchen God's Wife; Fischer, "Ethnicity and the Post Modern Arts of Memory" from Writing Culture (X)

May 5 Elite and Subaltern Women; Reading: Marguerite Duras, The Lover plus film text; Trinh Minh-ha, Woman Native Other, selections (X)
Reports on Term Papers

May 12 Last Class: Reports on Term Papers


644 Xerox Spring 1993
(in reading order)

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