Contemporary Fiction of the Mediterranean

Discipline: Comparative Literature
Instructor: Arata
Credits: 3
Day: C
Start: 1355
End: 1510
Field Work: Day 4 - Istanbul - Thursday, 11 July | Turkey
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

In this course we will read contemporary fiction written in or about the countries we are visiting. Among the questions we will address: What is distinctive about the fiction of the Mediterranean basin, and how does it compare to that of the Anglo-American traditions we are more familiar with? Do the types of fiction differ not only author by author but also country by country, and if so how? How does reading fiction about a particular place shape or complement our own perceptions of that place?

Field Work

Country: Turkey
Day: 4 - Istanbul - Thursday, 11 July

 July 11 (Istanbul, Turkey) For our field lab, we will tour portions of Istanbul that in different ways fed the imaginative life of the Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk, who was born and raised in the city and still lives there. In his memoir, Istanbul: Memories and the City, Pamuk interweaves accounts of his upbringing in the 1950s and ’60s with evocations of the melancholic grandeur of post-Ottoman Istanbul. To understand Pamuk it is necessary to understand the city’s Ottoman history and culture. We will visit the palace complex at Topkapi, home of Ottoman rulers for over 400 years. We will then tour, mostly on foot, the nearby Beyazit district with its ancient bazaars and mosques. Finally we cross the Galata Bridge and visit the Cihangar neighborhood, a bohemian enclave where Pamuk lived on several occasions as a child and adult. Academic Objectives:

  1. To explore portions of the city (some of them tourist destinations, others not) associated with the Nobel Prize writer and Istanbul-native Orhan Pamuk.
  2. To gain further insight into Pamuk’s writing by visiting places that are central to his imaginative vision of the city.
  3. To develop the most basic understanding of Ottoman culture and its place in Istanbul history and art.