This course focuses on the work of Haruki Murakami (1949-), the most popular and widely read novelist working in Japan today, and a major literary figure worldwide. We will read a substantial amount of Murakami's writings, all in English translation, beginning with his short stories, and covering his major novels. We will explore the major themes of Murakami's writings and develop a comprehensive view of his development as a writer. At the same time we will locate Murakami in the context of modern Japanese and world literature, and discuss his relationship with modern American literature, and his work as a translator and writer of non-fiction.
(Graduate-level requirements include: weekly oral reports to the class on English and Japanese articles/essays on Murakami, as well as published interviews with the author; leading class discussion as a group on two assigned class days; writing a 20-page research paper using sources in English and Japanese (where appropriate) and reporting orally to the class on the results of their research.)