What Is Literature？
Discussions over the past several decades on the modern concept of “literature” have partly rendered what may appear natural and distinct problematic. Cultural-historical studies, for example, tell us that before nineteenth-century what is understood as “literature” in the present-day, i.e., the fictional, was never recognized as an independent entity. Despite all sorts of archival investigation (if not reduction), still, the very experience of reading literature has been constitutive of the way of life of the moderns. How to come to terms with this experience? What is to be expected from reading literature? Instead of trying to sort out an ontological determination of “literature” per se, this course will read some key texts of Terry Eagleton, Maurice Blanchot, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Eric Auerbach, and so forth, aiming at a “cognitive mapping” (Fredric Jameson) of the experience of literature in our life.