This course is the gateway course to the English major and minor at Ashoka University. It introduces English students to literary history as articulated through different genres: the epic, the tale, the novel, lyric, drama, and the short story. Rather than regarding literary forms as fixed categories with specific rules, we will instead examine them as dynamically shaped by, and in conversation with, their social and historical contexts. We will consider how these forms have meant different things at different times, both to understand the transformations of literature and the changing meanings of genre itself.We will look at the epic and how its world view has transformed from Gilgamesh to John Milton’s Paradise Lost; tales and how their preoccupations have changed from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land; novels and how their social function and meaning vary from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to Amruta Patil’s Kari; lyric poetry and how its modes of intimacy have transformed from William Shakespeare’s Sonnets to Audre Lorde’s poetry; drama and how its representation of gender has morphed from Aristophanes’ Lysistrata to Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls; and short stories and how their uncanny imaginative scope has been reconfigured from E. T. A. Hoffman to Saadat Hasan Manto. We will also read some theories of literature and literary transformation, including essays by Karl Marx, Mikhail Bakhtin, T. S. Eliot, Bertolt Brecht, and Sigmund Freud.