This course examines a recent and still emerging genre of Mediterranean literature, so-called Mediterranean Noir. From the Marseille Trilogy of Jean-Claude Izzo to the Israel-set novels of Batya Gur to the well-regarded collection Istanbul Noir, these novels and stories are united by the gritty realism of their Mediterranean settings and the dark struggles of their protagonists as they negotiate the changing world around them. We will read fiction set in most the countries we visit, exploring the relationship of this evolving genre to the social, cultural, and political contours of the Mediterranean world that it seeks to represent. All works will be available in English translation, though students with reading knowledge of the relevant languages are encouraged to read the texts in the original. COURSE OBJECTIVES -To gain an introductory but comprehensive understanding of a recent genre of fiction that spans multiple national traditions. -To place the reading in the context of historical and social forces operative in the countries and cities in which these novels are set. -To connect in-country experiences and settings with the fictional worlds depicted in the novels.
Field WorkCountry: Croatia
This field lab will take us to the site of one of the darkest works of fiction on our syllabus, a story that takes place on the Dubrovnik Bay in sight of the city walls. After an informative walk along the walls themselves, we will travel by sea kayak from the border of the city through the bay to Lokrum Island, several hundred meters off the coast. The centerpiece of Lokrum Island is an eleventh-century Benedictine monastery famously cursed (according to legend) by its last inhabitants-a bit of local history that may allow us to think critically about the role of stories in shaping the great city's turbulent past.