Great Works of World Literature

“This class helped us to discover the beauty and importance of literature in many ways, including our daily lives.”

Welcome to Great Works of World Literature at Baruch, a course that takes you across time and through the world’s richest resource: our languages and literatures.

Great Works of World Literature is an integral part of the General Education experience at Baruch College. Undergraduates must take one semester of either Great Works of World Literature I (ENG/CMP 2800) or II (ENG/CMP 2850). Great Works courses, offered in both the English and Comparative Literature and Modern Language Departments, survey vast time periods: Great Works I covers ancient literature up to about 1650, and Great Works II covers 1650 to the present. These intimate, seminar-style classes set major literary works in their social, historical, and artistic contexts while covering a global range of literary traditions. Courses compare and contrast cross-cultural conceptions of human concerns—including love and sexuality, fantasy, monstrosity, mortality, war, and the divine—as voiced across diverse genres, cultures, and historical periods.

Great Works students engage in communication-intensive activities to help them connect to literature and explore its relationship to our humanity. Over the course of the semester, students can expect to participate in collaborative in-class work, group or individual presentations, and lively discussion involving both close reading of selected texts and comparison of the styles, values, and aspirations that the texts represent. Students also work on a range of projects outside of class, from analytical essays to original literary translations and creative multi-modal projects, all designed to increase students’ close reading skills and challenge their views of how literature shapes and reflects a multi-cultural world. Along the way, students develop their writing and speaking as well as their interpretative, creative, collaborative, and inquiry skills—key components of a well-rounded liberal arts education.

“I felt very fulfilled by the course this semester. It gave me a much broader view of the world…. The readings gave me a sense of the historical pride these many cultures had and still have.”

“The writing assignments really created this sense of reflection…I had to ask myself, what am I trying to get across, how is it that I am structuring my argument, is this argument provocative enough?”

—Great Works Students