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The Neustadt Course

Special Topics in World Literature Today: Ismail Kadare

Fall 2020 Neustadt Course

ENGL 4950.001 | MLLL 4950.001

Dates: August 25; September 8 & 22; October 6, 13 & 27; plus October 19-21

Place: Bartlett Room (Oklahoma Memorial Union 150)

Time: Tuesdays 3:00-4:15pm

Professor: Dr. Emily D. Johnson, Professor of Russian

Office Location: Copeland Hall 12B


The Neustadt course for 2020 will focus on the work of Ismail Kadare (b. 1936), one of the world’s most acclaimed novelists and the 2020 laureate for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. An Albanian author who now lives in Paris, Kadare won the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in 2005 and has repeatedly been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. His work considers the role of tradition and resonance of myth in modern life, the ways in which totalitarian governments deform both social norms and individual lives, and the short- and long-term effects of war and violence on communities. Even when set in centuries past, his novels speak to contemporary concerns. In this course, students will read some of Kadare’s most well-known novels, including Broken April and The Palace of Dreams.

Kadare will visit the University of Oklahoma campus for the Neustadt Festival (October 19-21, 2020). Students will be expected to attend all festival events and will interview Kadare or one of the other festival guests as part of a course assignment. Three of Kadare’s principal English-language translators—David Bellos, Peter Constantine, and Ani Kokobobo—will take part in the festival, along with distinguished MLLL alumni David Shook and Fabrice Conte-Williamson as well as more than a dozen other writers, scholars, and artists. One research paper is required.

Required Texts

Broken April, [trans. Jon Rothschild?], ISBN 978-1493055173, $16.95

The Palace of Dreams, trans. Barbara Bray, ISBN 978-1628723236, $14.95

Three Elegies for Kosovo, trans. Peter Constantine, ISBN 978-0099560951, $18.50

Agamemnon’s Daughter, trans. David Bellos, ISBN 978-1841959788, $14.39

The Doll, trans. John Hodgson, ISBN 978-1787300934, $13.13


Students can apply for a Neustadt Scholarship to help cover the cost of tuition and books for the course. The application deadline is Monday, August 24, 2020, at noon. More information can be found at