Comparative Literature Program

Comparative Literature is an exciting and innovative field of study dedicated to the examination of literature from a transnational, transhistorical, and interdisciplinary perspective. Students of comparative literature learn to appreciate and to analyze works of literature from around the globe. They also develop skills to analyze the relationship between literature and other arts, disciplines, and cultural phenomena.

Courses in comparative literature provide training in literary analysis and traditional fields of literary study, such as:

  • Genre or literary forms - the novel, drama, epic and lyric poetry, the short story, and the folktale
  • Literary movements and schools, such as Romanticism, Realism, or Modernism
  • Historical periods, for instance, classical, medieval, enlightenment, or postmodern literatures
  • Modes, such as comic, ironic, or tragic
  • Literary theory and criticism

Comparative Literature provides students with the skills to engage in these investigations from a cross-cultural perspective, working across linguistic, geographic, and historical borders.

Students of Comparative Literature are also encouraged to employ their analytical skills in order to explore the possible relationships and tensions between literature and other arts, disciplines, and cultural practices. Comparatists study the connections and interactions between literature and fields such as:

  • Other arts: cinema, painting, architecture, music, sculpture
  • Popular culture and other media
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Science and Technology
  • Philosophy
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • History

Comparative Literature is open to the literary and interdisciplinary study of such wide-ranging fields as aesthetics; political, social, religious, and philosophical movements; critical studies of gender, race, ethnicity, class, or sexuality; folklore and mythology. It is open to the study of literatures from across the globe (Asia and Europe or the Middle East and Latin America) or across borders (France and Spain or the U.S. and Mexico). Similarly, comparatists study literature that may be separated by centuries or by decades. As a major, you might study anything from novels to horror films, frescoes to comic books, mythology to manifestoes, opera to rap. Come see for yourself all that Comparative Literature has to offer!