MOOC: Masterpieces of World Literature

Embark on a global journey to explore the past, present, and future of World Literature! 

Taught by Harvard University faculty, this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) explores how great writers refract their world and how their works are transformed when they intervene in our global cultural landscape today.

No national literature has ever grown up in isolation from the cultures around it; from the earliest periods, great works of literature have probed the tensions, conflicts, and connections among neighboring cultures and often more distant regions as well.

Focusing particularly on works of literature that take the experience of the wider world as their theme, this course will explore the varied artistic modes in which great writers have situated themselves in the world, helping us to understand the deep roots of today's intertwined global cultures.

What you'll learn

  • The history of World Literature
  • How literary works and books are transformed by cultural transmission
  • How to critically analyze literary works
  • The significance of major technological advances in writing

We’re hosting this virtual program on Zoom.

What you’ll need to attend: A computer with microphone (or headphones) and webcam, or your smartphone/tablet.

Please register online with your email. We will email you the Zoom link and instructional material in advance of the program each week. If you have any questions, plese contact Vicki: Leev@nvdpl.ca 


Texts/authors considered in the course:

Section 1: Goethe and the Birth of World Literature
Section 2: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Section 3: Homer, The Odyssey
Section 4: The 1001 Nights
Section 5: Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
Section 6: The Lusiads
Section 7: Voltaire, Candide
Section 8: Lu Xun and Eileen Chang
Section 9: Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones
Section 10: Wole Soyinka, Death and the King's Horseman
Section 11: Salman Rushdie and Jhumpa Lahiri
Section 12: Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red




Repeats every week every Tuesday until Tue Aug 04 2020 except Tue Jun 02 2020.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, July 21, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm


  • All Ages