Arabia: A Literary Approach
In this course we will examine the Arabian Peninsula as a literary topos that has beguiled representation in both Eastern and Western literature. Whether it is depicted as a glittering spectacle of petro-dollars, the haunt of Bedouin tribesmen or as a sacred focal point, Arabia is an open canvas on which successive societies have sketched their anxieties and aspirations Simultaneously, Arabia has its own rich legacy of self-representation that has been shaped by its harsh environment and unique resources. We will sift through these representations in texts that range among pre-Islamic poetry, the accounts of foreign explorers, novels by modern Arab authors, and contemporary Bedouin oral poetry. All readings will be in English and no previous knowledge of Arabic is required. 3 hrs. sem.