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Masterpieces of World Literature (available in the US & Territories, Canada, and the Philippines)

Embark on a global journey to explore the past, present, and future of World Literature.

Start Date: Sep 22, 2016
Duration: 8 weeks
Price: $495

Course Description

All HarvardXPLUS courses are taught by Harvard faculty members. Small cohorts enable a high level of peer-to-peer learning and engagement. Learners who successfully complete the course will earn a HarvardXPLUS branded credential.

This course explores how great writers refract their world and how their works are transformed when they intervene in our global cultural landscape today. No national literature has ever grown up in isolation from the cultures around it; from the earliest periods, great works of literature have probed the tensions, conflicts, and connections among neighboring cultures and often more distant regions as well. Focusing particularly on works that take the experience of the wider world as their theme, this course will explore the varied artistic modes in which great writers have situated themselves in the world, helping us to understand the deep roots of today's intertwined global cultures.

What You'll Learn

  • The history of World Literature
  • How literary works are transformed by cultural transmission
  • How to critically analyze literature
  • The significance of major technological advances in writing
  • How to contribute to open education resources
  • How to perform a collaborative annotation of a text


David Damrosch

David Damrosch Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature

Martin Puchner

Martin Puchner Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature


In this course, you will follow Harvard Professors David Damrosch and Martin Puchner on a journey to explore selected masterpieces of world literature. You will encounter numerous authors and scholars from across the globe.

Working with your peers and the teaching team to discuss, analyze, and annotate classic texts using the HarvardX Annotation Tool, we will build a community of world literature scholars and enthusiasts. This course features increased assessment opportunities and personalized feedback from the HarvardXPLUS course staff on your academic writing. Your final project will contribute back to open learning resources that are reshaping the humanities today.


Do you love literature, reading, and history? Do you want to learn how great works of art have traveled the globe and been interpreted by different cultures? If so, this course is for you.

Anyone looking to learn about World Literature or gain familiarity with university-level humanities coursework will benefit from taking this course.

Unfortunately, due to terms of licensing the readings for this course, only learners from the United States, Canada, American Samoa, Canada, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Philippines, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands may enroll in this version of the course.


HarvardXPLUS is online learning reimagined, with you in mind. All HarvardXPLUS courses are taught by Harvard faculty members. Smaller cohorts enable a higher level of peer-to-peer learning and increased engagement with faculty and teaching assistants. Learners who successfully complete the course will earn a unique and valuable HarvardXPLUS branded credential highlighting the skills and knowledge mastered in the course.


What is HarvardXPLUS?

HarvardXPLUS is online learning reimagined - with you in mind. With this new initiative as one of the pioneers of high-quality online education, HarvardXPLUS has set out to create an unprecedented online learning experience, one that leverages the immersive content of HarvardX courses, and also features a high-touch community with your peers and with Harvard faculty and teaching assistants. Expectations and academic rigor remain a key element for HarvardXPLUS courses. With smaller cohorts than traditional MOOCs, these limited enrollment courses will offer you a chance for a deeper connection, more peer-to-peer engagement and the opportunity to develop a strong network with fellow learners.

What kind of commitment is required for a HarvardXPLUS course?

The HarvardXPLUS programs offers courses in multiple disciplines that require an eight-week commitment from each learner. Each week learners can anticipate dedicating four to six hours to the course, which includes course readings, discussion forums, videos and assessments.

Please note, HarvardXPLUS courses use Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) and 4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). To convert times to your local time zone, please use the following tool:

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HarvardX strives to create an innovative online-learning platform that promotes accessibility for everyone, including students with disabilities. We are dedicated to improving the accessibility of the platform and welcome your comments or questions at

Are video captions available?

Each video for this course has been transcribed and the text can be found on the right side of the video when the captions function is turned on. Synchronized transcripts allow students to follow along with the video and navigate to a specific section of the video by clicking the transcript text. Students can use transcripts of media-based learning materials for study and review.

Will I receive Harvard credits or Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

The courses offered by HarvardXPLUS do not carry academic credit or Continuing Education Units. Learners may not imply nor state in any manner, written or oral, that Harvard or HarvardXPLUS awards academic credit or Continuing Education Units.

In the event employers or institutions wish to convert the HarvardX Credential into CEU’s or Professional Development Hours (PDH), each course under the HarvardXPLUS program is accompanied by the number of hours required for completion for easy conversion. Awarding CEU’s or PDHs is at the sole discretion of the employer or receiving institution, not HarvardXPLUS.

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Go to, click on the course you would like to register for, and click "Enroll Now". You may be prompted to first create an account if you do not have one already. Complete the registration process to create an HarvardXPLUS account, checkout and pay for the course. Once you are granted access to the course, will be prompted to complete the mandatory entrance survey before you can gain access to the videos and other course materials.

How do I cancel or withdraw from the course?

Cancellation requests must be submitted to Refunds are not available beyond the second day after the official course start date.

To submit your request, please include your full name and order number in your email request. Refunds will be credited to the credit card used when you registered and may take up to two billing cycles to process. HarvardXPLUS and edX have no obligation to issue a refund after the second day into a course; however if you believe a refund is warranted, please email us at

Can I transfer/defer my registration for another session or course?

Admission and fees paid cannot be deferred to a future session; however, you may cancel your registration and re-enroll at a later date. Please note, no late cancellations will be granted. If you would like to request a refund or have issues with billing, contact Please include your order number in all refund requests. Please do not include your credit card information.

Can someone else attend in my place?

We cannot accommodate any substitution requests. Please review the time commitment and course outline to ensure you are able to participate and complete the course before you register.

What is the registration deadline?

Individual and group registrations must be completed within one week of the course start date. Please note that once registration has closed, no late registrations will be granted.

Are there any prerequisites to the courses?

HarvardXPLUS courses do not have formal requirements for prerequisites. However, learners should have a good command of the English language and possess the ability to fluently express ideas in English. Some courses do assume prior knowledge in the area of study.

Can I work ahead of the course pace?

HarvardXPLUS is designed to create a high touch online learning experience by connecting our learners to Harvard faculty and encouraging peer-to-peer networking. As a result, learners are encouraged to follow the recommended pacing of the course rather than working ahead.

Will I have access to the course materials after I complete it?

Registered and paid learners will have access to the archived course for 90 days. This includes videos, discussion boards, and content. No extensions are granted.

What happens if I do not finish my course on time?

HarvardX Credentials are awarded to students who complete the course successfully in the scheduled time as indicated on the course details page.

How should I list the HarvardXPLUS Credential on my LinkedIn profile?

When you have successfully completed your course, you will be instructed to confirm your course details. Then you will be provided with a link to add your credential to your LinkedIn profile.

How should I list the HarvardXPLUS Credential on my resume?

When you have earned your HarvardX Credential, list it on your resume with the date of completion as follows:

Fall 2016

HarvardXPLUS Credential, Masterpieces of World Literature

What methods of payment are acceptable?

HarvardXPLUS accepts globally recognized major credit or debit cards that have an American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or Diner’s Club logo. Simply follow the easy sign-up prompts when you register. At this time, we are unable to accept bank transfers, or other forms of payment. Payment is due in full at the time of registration.

Is financial assistance available?

At this time, financial assistance is not available for HarvardXPLUS course offerings. However, we have an extensive list of free courses available to our learners. We encourage you to explore for our free course listings.



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