The Text: Approaches to Comparative Literature - CPLT5100

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 5 30 (15) Katja Haustein-Corcoran checkmark-circle


This module is designed to give a theoretically-grounded understanding of Comparative Literature and its methods. Students will have an overview of the brief history, fundamental debates, theories and different areas of focus of the discipline of Comparative Literature, as well as learning about the important schools of literary theory that are relevant to Comparative Literature.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 42
Total Private Study Hours: 258
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
• Essay 1 (2,000 words) – 40%
• Essay 2 (3,000 words) – 60%

Reassessment methods:
• 100% Coursework (3,000 words)

Indicative reading

Culler, J. (1997) Literary Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Gogol, N. (1998) The Nose. New York: Penguin
Hillis Miller, J. (2002) On Literature. London: Routledge
Hutchinson, B. (2018). Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Kafka, F. (1972) Before the Law. New York: Penguin
Lodge, D. (ed.), (2000) Modern Criticism and Theory, Thirds Edition. New York: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate literary-critical competence in assessing aspects of textual transmission, literary archetypes, narrative form, strategies of interpretation, symbolism and the like through a linked series of comparative enquiries;
2 Identify literary themes, motifs, structures, and authorial strategies and situate these within wider critical perspectives and apply technical terms as appropriate;
3 Show they have acquired a good knowledge and critical understanding of the various types of interpretative tools;
4 Demonstrate a firm grasp of the essentials of comparative methodology and be able to develop independent critical arguments concerning a wide variety of literary material of varied linguistic and cultural origin;
5 Define the fundamentals of a general comparative theory of literature and have specific knowledge of some important schools of criticism, while also becoming aware of the limitations of these approaches as well as their potentialities.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate refined written communication skills;
2 Demonstrate confident close reading skills, including the ability to read critically;
3 Execute quick and efficient research in the library, assemble the information gleaned, and present the findings to the class;
4 Demonstrate the ability to apply relevant theoretical material to the study of literature.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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