This course presents a broad survey of classical Japanese literature in English translation, with particular emphasis on prose fiction and poetry. We will make use of multiple, complementary modes of literary criticism, beginning with historicism and formalism, which reflect different assumptions and interpretive priorities. The approach is integrative, with attention paid throughout to the intersections between literature, social and institutional history, and religion. Key questions to be explored include the following: How were the major works of classical Japanese literature understood by readers during the medieval and early-modern periods? How did the current canon of classical Japanese literature arise, and what historical forces shaped its development? How might modern modes of literary criticism help us better approach premodern Japanese literature, and what are their limitations?