Comparative Literature in Theory and Practice - CP810

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
(version 2)
Autumn 7 30 (15) DR A Evangelou checkmark-circle


This module is designed to familiarise students with the history of Comparative Literature as an academic discipline, to develop their ability to analyse critically the major conceptions of Comparative Literature that have emerged over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and to enable them to apply theories of Comparative Literature in the analysis of literary movements, literary genres, literary topoi, and literary figures who recur at different moments in literary history.

Students will begin by studying a range of major conceptions of Comparative Literature, and will consider the implications for the discipline of Comparative Literature of theories of globalisation, multiculturalism, translation studies, and world literature. They will then proceed to analyse selected literary works within the framework of these conceptions of Comparative Literature. The module will therefore combine a theoretical with a practical literary-critical dimension, encouraging close reading and an appreciation of historical context in the analysis of theoretical and literary texts.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (2,000 words) – 40%
Essay 2 (3,000 words) – 60%

Indicative reading

Bassnett, S. (1993). Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction, John Wiley and Sons
Damrosch, D. et al. (eds), (2009). The Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature: From the European Enlightenment to the Global Present,
Hutchinson, Ben (2018). Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Saussy, H. (ed.), (2006). Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization, Baltimore: JHU Press
Spivak, G. (2003). Death of a Discipline, New York: Columbia University Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:

Demonstrate familiarity with the theory and practice of Comparative Literature as an academic discipline;
Demonstrate knowledge of the cultural and historical contexts out of which various influential conceptions of Comparative Literature have emerged;
Examine the relation between Comparative Literature as a discipline and other approaches to the literary (including Translation Studies);
Appreciate the importance for Comparative Literature of reflections upon multiculturalism and globalisation;
Critically assess questions of literary movements, genres, topoi, and figures from a Comparative Literature perspective.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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