This is a survey course designed to introduce students to the literatures of the region known as the Middle East, from ancient to modern times. The main literary genres we will cover are epic, scripture, belles-lettres, chronicle, essay, the modern novel and short story, the ode and lyric poetry. Documentary films will also be shown during class. The course is roughly divided into two broad time frames: from antiquity to the late medieval period, and from the beginning of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st. The texts will be discussed in relation to their respective social and political contexts, and as coherent body of literature that shares a core group of themes and structures across languages and countries of origin. Some of the main themes that we will cover include the social role of the poet/author, sacred and profane identity, gender and sexuality, and colonialism and the challenges of modernity.