The study of Comparative Literature complements the study of Drama, as the analytical and comparative skills you learn are suited to both programmes, and results in a strong understanding of broad range of texts, written or performed. Your literary appreciation will aid the practical drama elements, as you will have a clear understanding of the cultural and historical background of the playwright.
In Comparative Literature, you have the opportunity to study texts ranging from Classical Antiquity to the present day in English translation, including works by such famous authors as Homer, Ovid, Dante, Goethe, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Flaubert, Proust and Kafka, as well as British classics such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Joyce and Woolf.
Studying on a joint honours Comparative Literature and Drama degree, you gain expertise in drama and theatre, and a broad, international perspective on literary history, literary movements and literary genres. It also allows you to compare themes and figures across various different cultural backgrounds, as well as to compare the works of English and American authors to European ones.
We also offer programmes with an opportunity to spend a year studying abroad in either America or Europe, where you can experience different cultures as well as different approaches to the study of literature and drama first hand.
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30 points overall or 15 points at HL
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Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.
This literary-critical module deals with a wide range of selected international tales ranging from antiquity to the present day. The module addresses issues such as the development of oral folktales and fairy tales into written forms, and discusses various short prose genres including Aesopian fables, myths, folktales and fairy tales, as well as tales of the fantastic, nineteenth-century literary fairy tales, and the modern short story.
The framework of discussion comprises a general survey of the issues that face the comparatist. In the course of the module students practise different methods of literary analysis, including close reading and comparative analysis by examining story-motifs and story-structures, and by considering symbolic meanings in the light of psychoanalytic concepts. Students also explore questions of transmission and transformation (e.g. how stories and motifs travel from one culture to another and alter in shape and emphasis) and questions of genre (for example the fantastic). A selection of critical texts on narrative devices and patterns, on psychoanalytical, structuralist and feminist approaches to the fairy tale and on genre theories are studied in conjunction with the primary texts.
This module will introduce students to some of the most influential theories of world literature, which are studied alongside a selection of literary examples. The theories range from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's reflections on world literature (Weltliteratur) to describe the international circulation and reception of literary works in Europe to Rabindranath Tagore's renaming of world literature (visva-sahitya) in his native Bengali as a model for global interconnectedness that would help foster peaceful worldwide alliances.
Throughout the module students will reflect on the relationship between national literatures and world literature, and on the ways in which the literary market facilitates and complicates transnational exchanges of ideas. In addition, students will be given the opportunity to hone their close reading skills by studying a selection of ancient and modern world creation myths. These include texts from the Near East, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. The module offers students the unique opportunity to analyse in detail different ways in which cultural backgrounds can shape literary productions, and how stories, motifs and themes travel across national boundaries. In the course of the module, we discuss key literary terms and concepts, including fictionality, literariness, translation, the canon, and the various modes of reception and circulation that shape our understanding of world literature.
This is a module about the implications of Peter Brook's idea that anything can be seen as 'an act of theatre’. Students will be invited to see beyond their own default assumptions about theatre, and introduced to a diverse range of methods of devising their own performances. In practical workshops, they will learn about professional practice, warming up, performance skills, and collaborative group work; and will explore the possibilities of creating performance from a range of starting points, including (for example), space, body, voice, text, or character. This practical exploration will sit alongside an introduction to related aspects of history and theory. In seminars, students will be introduced to such concepts as theatre spaces, traditional play texts, non-traditional theatre texts, historical approaches to characterisation (e.g. Stanislavski, Mike Leigh), physical approaches to acting (e.g. Grotowski, Lecoq), and the different models for engaging an audience (e.g. Brecht, Boal). The experience will be enhanced by 4 ‘Theatre Forums’ within which students experience a short piece of performance by Theatre Companies/Performers who have emerged from the department, followed by an ‘open discussion forum, situating the work within the world of performance, and the influence that their university learning had in relation to their current practice. Students will be assessed by a short in-class performance and an essay. This module (together with Making Performance 2) will offer a solid foundation for all modules in years two and three which involve creative performance work.
Like Making Performance 1, this module is about the implications of Peter Brook's idea that anything can be seen as 'an act of theatre’. Students will be further encouraged to see beyond their own default assumptions about theatre, and introduced to an expanded range of methods of devising their own performances. In practical workshops, they will learn more about warming up, performance skills, and collaborative group work; and will explore the possibilities of creating performance from a further range of starting points, including (for example), improvisation, music, audience, personality, and aural and visual stimuli. Workshops will be longer than in Making Performance 1, to allow for a more developed engagement. Not only will this allow more time for discussion of the assigned reading, but it will also allow students to start engaging with technical aspects of theatre-making. Students will be encouraged to develop their own ideas about theatre and performance through a series of lectures in which different Drama lecturers talk to the students about their ideas of what theatre is and could be, and how these ideas have been shaped by their encounters with theatre as audience members, theatre makers, and academics. This module (together with Making Performance 1) will offer a solid foundation for all modules in years two and three which involve creative performance work.
This module offers students a wide-ranging grounding in classical literature as a basis for the further study of Western literature within a comparative framework. Major works of ancient Greek and Roman literature are studied in order to enable students to appreciate literary engagement with the classical world: for example, myth; the relationship between human beings and the gods, between the sexes, and between the human and the animal; and the journey motif. Themes explored may include sexuality, violence, conceptions of justice, and metamorphosis.
The module introduces students to some of the major genres of Western literature (tragedy, comedy, the epic), and considers how these were theorised in antiquity. It also encourages students to reflect on questions of cultural transmission, and on why the myths represented in classical literature have proved to be such a rich source for the literature of the West.
The twentieth-century imagination was marked by a spirit of doubt, especially of the Enlightenment faith in reason's capacity to advance humankind to happiness and freedom. In this module will be discussed some classic fictional explorations of freedom and social, political, religious and racial oppression which have had an international impact. These texts will be read as works of literature in their own right as well as contextualised with the ideas they question and propagate: universal happiness, human liberation, and morality without God, personal and political freedom, the self and its responsibility.
The 'knowledge of good and evil' is unique to human beings. It informs the individual’s conscience and determines the moral systems on which societies are based. The violation of moral codes is expected to induce the experience of guilt, while the lack of any sense of guilt is considered psychopathic. As the manifestation of an internal, and sometimes also external, struggle of varying intensity, guilt is an almost universal concern of literary texts; as is the quest for redemption, the alleviation of guilt and despair – through atonement, forgiveness or denial. In this module, we will analyse and discuss literary texts, which explore the frequently fuzzy edges of the experiences of guilt and redemption as a human quandary and as perceived against changing conceptions of morality. Texts included in the reading list engage with questions of personal and collective guilt incurred with hubris, cruelty, the violation of animal rights, and genocide, etc.
Who and what is 'a child', and what is adolescence? This module examines the representation of childhood and adolescence in a cross-section of texts from modern literature within the context of World Literature studies. Students will pay close attention to the rhetoric and techniques of storytelling woven around these themes, as well as to relevant socio-political debates, while also examining how these specific texts function across cultures.
The module encourages students to find innovative approaches to the topic, and at the same time invites them to explore the relationship between literature and childhood and the joy of reading often associated with childhood and adolescence.
This module introduces students to a selection of famous femmes fatales in literary works from biblical times to the present day, as well as in film noir. We will closely analyse representations of women who bring about the downfall of men, with a particular emphasis on the gender-political and wider ideological implications of specific representational choices. Students will critically analyse the functions and features of specific fatal female figures by looking closely at the socio-cultural backgrounds from which these representations emerge.
The module commences with an introduction to some archetypal fatal women in the Bible (including Eve, Judith and Delilah) and in classical Greek mythology (including Helen, Circe and the Sirens). We then proceed to study representations of femmes fatales in various historical periods and movements, including the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Romanticism, Decadence and the twentieth century. By drawing on relevant concepts from feminist and queer theory, as well as historical and psychoanalytical approaches, the module aims to foster an awareness of the ideological and psychological issues that are at stake in all representations of gendered conflicts.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
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.
This module will look at disability in the arts, covering theatre, film and visual art. The students will engage with the historical representation of disability within the arts and the way in which disability scholars have critically engaged with it. The students will also look at arts institutions (i.e. theatres, cinemas and galleries) and the disabling barriers within those institutions that prevent the full participation of people with impairments in the arts. This will culminate in an 'accessibility review', whereby the students analyse the adjustments made by arts institutions for people with impairments and the extent to which they are effective. Finally, the students will engage with examples of contemporary disabled artists whose impairments informs the aesthetic qualities of their work.
This is a practice-based module exploring the photographic medium and the contexts of its use through the production of photographs in response to a project brief and group-based critical discussion of the work produced. Students investigate how the context in which photographs are made affect how the world is represented, and how in turn these images shape perception. Students choose two practical project briefs that are designed to enable them to explore the medium creatively and through informed and reflective practice. The emphasis of the module is upon this creative practice rather than the acquisition of specific technical skills, and as such students are at liberty to use any photographic production and post-production technologies they wish to experiment with or find appropriate. A camera phone and access to a computer and printer are all that is needed for this module, though students who wish to make use of digital image processing or analogue processes, including use of a darkroom, are encouraged to do so. Each of the practical project briefs will be supported through a series of lectures closely examining various genres, styles and other contexts of photographic production through the work of those who have shaped them. In addition students will present the work they have produced in response to their project briefs, and engage in a broad critical discussion or their own and other's work.
This course introduces students to the fiction (novels, novellas, and short stories) of some of the most influential twentieth- and twenty-first- century Latin American writers. The module ranges from Borges to the extraordinary literary phenomenon or explosion of the 'Boom generation', the post-Boom novel, and the recently acclaimed Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño (all studied in English translation). The course offers students the unique opportunity to study a fascinating corpus of literature celebrated for its creative innovation, fictional games, puzzles, labyrinths, fabulous and supernatural events, multiple storytellers, and magical realist writing. The course also addresses questions of gender, class, and social, cultural, and technological changes, as well as representations of identity, subjectivity, time, space, and landscape.
This module investigates representations of gender and identity in a selection of texts by women writers from different temporal, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. In particular, it seeks to explore the way in which representations of "self" and "other", love and desire, madness and motherhood reflect the respective socio-cultural contexts and the situation of women therein. Corporeal aesthetics, patterns of behaviour labelled as feminine or masculine, representations of transgressive conduct, and relations of power will be investigated, drawing on classic feminist theory and historiography (Wollstonecraft, Beauvoir, Irigaray, Butler, Moi, Badinter), psychoanalytical thought (Freud), narratology (Genette), genre-theory (Bakhtin) subject-theory (Sartre, Levinas, Derrida) and studies in visual culture (Barthes, Sontag, Mulvey).
Students will be asked to engage with the significance of images and representations of women and men proliferated through literature. These representations provide or question role models and perpetuate or problematise stereotypical versions of female/male goals and aspirations. Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on close readings of the selected literary works, on cultural differences and variations, and on how conceptions of sex and gender are changing in the course of time.
This module introduces students to a range of nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century literary and cinematic representations of vampires from different cultural backgrounds. It explores the reasons for the abiding allure of the figure of the vampire both in popular culture and in literary fiction.
The module will examine the ways in which vampires function as polyvalent symbols of specifically modern preoccupations, for the emergence and popularity of vampire tales is intricately bound up with the advent and wider cultural ramifications of modernity. What do vampires represent in each of the works discussed? What hidden desires and anxieties do they allow authors and filmmakers to express? The vampire is an allegorically highly potent figure that is suspended between life and death and between animal and human existence. Vampires frequently serve as foils to discuss more contentious matters, in particular questions relating to sexuality, gender roles, class, immortality and the desire for everlasting youth, being an outsider, and addiction.
The award of literary prizes is a highly potent tool of cultural policy that frequently determines the wider national and international impact of a literary work. As such it is of crucial relevance to the study of comparative literature in a number of ways: the award of literary prizes reflects the beginnings of the successful or, as the case may be, the (ultimately) abortive formation of literary canons; moreover, it affords insights into processes of cultural production and marketing and reveals in which ways political and economic agendas are tied up with these processes; it also offers a perspective on transnational and transcultural aspects of the production and reception of literature and indicates shifting notions of the social function of literature and the writer; literature is thus understood as a cultural product in ever changing contexts which is frequently subject to external forces of which literary prizes become indicators or even 'enforcers'.
This module will investigate with the methods of literary and cultural studies the development of a number of major literary awards which have achieved global significance, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Man Booker Prize, the Pulitzer Prize (for Fiction), the Prix Goncourt, and the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels. (This list may be modified according to precedent to accommodate the topical relevance of individual award winners in the future.) Seminars will develop a historical perspective by scrutinising and analysing award winners of the past and their most recent counterparts in their different production and marketing contexts as well as in changing reception contexts: seminars will include the close reading of individual works as well as their critical reception, and the analysis of marketing strategies in various media (e.g. reports in culture magazines, reviews, displays in book shops, translations, etc.); final winners will be interpreted in the context of the respective long and short lists from which they emerged; historical developments will be taken into account, for instance by investigating 'forgotten' prize winners in comparison with those who, largely through the agency of academic intervention, ‘made it’ into the canon; the module thus also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of literary studies.
This module gives students the opportunity to examine literature and film that is politically and ideologically orientated. The central focus will be on the ways in which literature represents, reflects on, and participates in structures of power.
Examples will be taken from around the world. Over the course of the module, we may read accounts of slavery in America, the rise and fall of Fascism in Europe, the postcolonial politics of Nigeria, the subsumption of Tibet, and the fall out of Russian Communism.
This approach will allow us to think about dynamics of power from a global perspective and will give us the chance to think about the role of literature and film in a world framed by competing ideologies and seemingly endless political tensions.
The course will introduce basic skills related to the craft of acting, predominantly within naturalist and realist idioms. This acting course will provide a core practical introduction to mainstream acting techniques descended from the teachings of Stanislavski and his heirs, as well as providing an introduction to contrasting practice and theories from other significant practitioners.
The course will introduce students through practical means, to basic terms and concepts in mainstream rehearsal-room practice. The students will develop a practical and usable understanding of a contemporary approach to the Stanislavskian system. Students will explore approaches concerning the use of detailed textual analysis when preparing a naturalistic role for performance and concepts to be introduced will include text analysis and uniting, actions and activities, objectives, obstacles, stakes, and given circumstances. On some level, this course will allow the student to explore varied and contradicting ideas from the world of actor training.
All of these concepts will be explored in practice through a combination of physical and text exercises, improvisation and close textual analysis. Students will be encouraged to adopt a critical overview of the work and to evaluate for themselves, both via class discussion and through reflective analysis on paper, the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques to which they are introduced.
Students' learning will be organised around research-based performance projects. These will be
based on detailed examinations of particular popular performance genres (for example, variety theatre, slapstick, cabaret, pantomime, radio comedy). Initially, students develop relevant performance skills, which might include, for example, addressing an audience, developing a stage persona, dance skills, singing, and/or simple acrobatics. In addition to this, they will be set research tasks relevant to the particular genre they are studying. These tasks will lead towards a research essay. They will work independently on devising and rehearsing material related to both the research and the skills acquired in workshops, testing this material in front of an audience made up of other students on the module. Subsequently, they will develop their material to create a show in the style of the assigned popular performance genre, which will be performed to a public audience.
Students will explore the historical and cultural contexts through which the genre of musical theatre dance developed. Learning will be organised around detailed examinations of particular periods of musical theatre dance including its interface with popular dance forms in the 1920s and the emergence of variety and Vaudeville theatre; the integration of Latin, Indian and African influences through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s; the standardization of jazz in the 1970s; and the influences of ballet, cabaret, and burlesque theatre across the century's period styles. Weekly workshop sessions will include a comprehensive isolation-based musical theatre/jazz warm-up, followed by movement studies focused in specific periods and the learning of a section of musical theatre dance performance. In addition, students will view and analyze filmed musical dance numbers and other performances from specific periods. Attendance at one full-length live or filmed-as-live musical performance will also be required. These tasks will lead towards a critically informed research essay focused on a period, artist, or musical of the students’ choice.
Recent theatrical productions as diverse in form as experimental performance, new writing, musicals and live art have shown a recurring fascination with adapting existing works by other artists, writers, filmmakers and stage practitioners. The transition of an existing source or stimulus to the stage – be it film, book, play, artwork, or other performance – is not a smooth one. It implies negotiations of numerous kinds, such as interlingual and intercultural, but also ideological, ethical, aesthetic and political. Drawing on the work of contemporary international theatre-makers, this module will explore specific approaches to stage adaptation, study adaptation methodologies and develop an understanding of the implications of adaptation. Through seminar discussions, practical and creative work, the module will prompt a reflection on performance's near-obsessive desire to return, rewrite and repeat, establishing a dialogue across languages and cultural identities.
During lectures, students will study several adaptation projects and strategies, which will form the basis for an essay. During seminars, students will experiment with a source of their choice and produce a simple, tech-light group performance based on this source, for which they need to be able to rehearse in the classroom, without any technical assistance. The presentation of the group performance will be followed by a reflective essay on the chosen source and its afterlife, an analysis of the group's performance, and any other supporting material. The students are expected to keep their performance time and tech to a minimum, and will not be provided with technical support or extra rehearsal space for this module.
This module addresses issues that are central to performance studies and to contemporary social and political debates through its focus on the representation and performance of sex, gender and identity. The module explores these ideas in relation to a diverse range of trans-historical performance examples.
Students will explore changing concepts of gender and sexuality and will consider how performance and performers have engaged with these social changes by examining both contemporary and historical case studies. The module explores questions of self, authenticity, performing difference and identities in transition. Students will interrogate performance using a range of theoretical approaches drawn from gender and sexuality studies in dialogue with practical experimentation. Drawing on this knowledge, students will have the opportunity to develop contemporary performance inspired and shaped by the models of practice which they have encountered. Issues of risk and ethics will be core concerns as students develop understanding of how sex, gender and identity can create a performance aesthetic.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.
You can apply to add a Year Abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year. The Year Abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. For a full list, please see Go Abroad.
You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad. The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.
The module gives School of Arts students across a range of undergraduate programmes the opportunity to undertake a written independent research project at stage 3.
Students who wish to take the module must approach a permanent academic member of staff with a proposal, typically in advance of module registration, during the Spring term of the previous year. Students pick a research topic of their choice; however, students are only allowed to register for the module with the permission of a staff member who has agreed to supervise the project, and who has the expertise to do so. Potential supervisors must also ensure before they agree to supervise a project that the resources required to complete the project will be available to the student, and that adequate supervisory support will be available to the student throughout their study on the module.
Students will be supported in the preparation and submission of their work by their supervisor, although a central expectation of the module is that students will take increasing responsibility for their learning, consistent with expectations of Level 6 study.
Students will engage in a work-based situation of their choice. The student will be responsible for finding the work-based situation, though support from the School and CES will be available. The internship should bear relevance to their subject of study or a career they expect to pursue upon graduation. The total of 300 hours will be divided as required for purposes of preparation, attendance of work placement and reflection/completion of required assessment.
This interdisciplinary course will examine historical and current theoretical ideas and research on the ways in which art is created and perceived. Artforms that will be considered include visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, popular art), performing arts (dance and theater), music, and film. Readings will interface with subdisciplines of psychology such as perception, psychoaesthetics, neurophysiology, social psychology, and studies of emotion. Principal areas of focus will include aesthetics, arts-experimental design, perception of art, meaning in art, the psychology of the creative process, social and cultural issues, and the ramifications of arts-sciences research. The primary focus will be on Western art forms, though other world art traditions and aesthetics will also be discussed. Assessment methods will test understanding through a summary and critical reflection on a selected text and the proposal, research, and design and oral presentation of a potential interdisciplinary research project.
The module is predicated on independent research activity. It will build on the skills and experiences acquired through Stages 1 and 2. Students will write a dissertation on a topic of their own choice. The topic must be on a literary or related subject and must have a comparative element. The dissertation gives students the opportunity to satisfy their intellectual curiosity by individually and independently researching a large-scale project of their own choice. Throughout autumn and spring terms students will be given guidance by a chosen supervisor, but the rhythm of research, the writing and frequency of meetings between supervisor and student is left to the individual student to determine. The SWIPE undergraduate conference will give students a chance to present their own work, discuss their and their fellow students' work and to test some of their ideas in a larger context.
The module seeks to explore how novels and plays are adapted and interpreted for the screen. We will analyse how certain texts lend themselves to multiple reshaping, such as Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons. We will also analyse lesser-known works that have gone on to become feature films, such as Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Story, filmed as Eyes Wide Shut. Adaptations directed by internationally recognized filmmakers such as Roman Polanski, Vittorio De Sica, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, and Pier Paolo Pasolini will be examined with a view to eliciting and understanding their particular approach to, and filmic vision of, written texts.
This is a module about the intersection of colonial power relations, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism, feminism, and identity politics in literature that interrogates the influence of imperialism on a sense of self. It considers the writing of a number of authors from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Cuba and India. In light of the complex relationship between coloniser and colonised, we consider the ideology of many of these writers, as well as the ways in which their politics are articulated in their writing, whether fiction or non-fiction. We also examine to what extent this literature is representative of other postcolonial concerns such as nationhood and national consciousness, hybridity and assimilation, and exile and alienation within the larger context of cultural theory. Particularly significant is our interrogation of the violence inscribed in both the colonial system and the colonised's fight for independence as seen from the perspective of Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), and The Wretched of the Earth (1961).
Studying the primary and secondary texts in English, we bring awareness to the reading scene of the translation process as an important development in the transnational study of comparative literature in a globalised world. In so doing, we acknowledge the significance of indigenous languages and dialects as signifiers of subject-hood in conflict with the coloniser's language. By exploring a variety of anti-colonial resistance and liberation discourses in relation to the development of current postcolonial thinking, the module also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of Postcolonial studies.
Don Juan and Casanova are archetypes of the male seducer who, in the Western European tradition, stand for different interpretations of excessive passion. Don Juan hunts for virgins, nuns, and other women who are difficult to get (in that they belong to other men). Casanova, in turn, was attracted to the easy accessibility of moments of intense pleasure, which, although within potential reach to all, only few knew how to enjoy.
In this module we shall chart the metamorphoses of these two almost mythical figures since their emergence in seventeenth-century Spain and eighteenth-century Italy to explore the relationship between literature, music, film, and the erotic within different cultural and historical contexts. In our close analyses of plays, novellas, opera, and film, we will engage with the works of Freud and Jung, and we will consider gender as both a structure of power and, for Casanova, as a potentially fluid construct. More broadly, we will consider the historical, social and political contexts that frame various incarnations of Don Juan and Casanova, and we will use these central figures to answer important questions about the depiction of society, religion, sexuality, and morality.
How have twentieth-century writers across the world negotiated and appropriated Shakespeare's omnipresent cultural influence? How have they revised, reinvented, and reimagined his legacy in Europe, Asia, and the Americas (North, Central, and South)? This module focuses on a selection of Shakespeare’s most influential plays (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest) in order to examine how their thematic, historical, and cultural concerns have been transplanted to a wide range of global locations including the Caribbean, Germany, Japan, a farm in the USA, and the Argentine Pampas. The module also engages with theoretical notions related to the act of appropriating Shakespeare, including the theory of intertextuality, the Benjaminian concept of the 'afterlife’ of a text, and Genette’s study of the ‘palimpsest’ as a text derived from a pre-existent text. In addition, the module will reflect on issues of race, gender, and cultural identity embedded in the adaptations of the bard in the various world contexts in which his work has been complexly modernized and redeployed.
From the time of the Bible, the figure of the devil has haunted the Western cultural landscape. Understood as the embodiment of evil, a figure of temptation, and a potential foil to God, the Devil works as a complex ethical symbol. Far from being limited to their biblical origins, Satanic characters are often used as symbolic currency, employed as a means of critiquing existing social structures and, often, challenging the status quo.
The fascination sparked by the notion of pure evil and unbridled malevolence has resulted in an abundance of literary and artistic accounts. Maximilian Rudwin goes so far as to claim that 'Lacking the devil, there would simply be no literature.' (1931) This module will explore the religious, moral and political meanings behind the appearance of the Devil across a range of literary texts and films; the aim is to trace the ways in which the figure has evolved over time and across cultures. Come and join us on a journey into hell!
This module explores critical and creative approaches to working with real lives in performance. You will examine how auto/biographical and documentary material is used and manipulated to construct identity in and through performance. You will question the concept of the 'true story' and explore the ethics and practicalities of using the personal in performance. You will also work creatively to produce a practical project on auto/biographical theatre. In this module you will work with a range of dramatic material and forms, studying, for example, play texts, performance art, verbatim and documentary theatre. You will also engage with a range of theoretical approaches and perspectives.
This module introduces participatory theatre in its various forms, and considers the historical and social context in which it has developed. It offers students the opportunity to both understand and apply workshop techniques, planning, facilitation and management of projects within a participatory theatre context. Practical work is based on a theoretical understanding and grounding in the historical and social contexts of the form. The module will be structured in 2 distinctive parts:
The first introduces and considers the historical development, current debates, methodologies and case studies within the field. This stage of the module will include a range of lectures, seminar discussions, and exploratory/task-based workshops. The second stage will focus on developing associated practical skills to include project planning, management, workshop and facilitation skills.
The aim of this course is to introduce students to the specific acting challenges presented by the classical texts of Shakespeare and his contemporaries and to facilitate, through practice, an in depth examination of proven analytical and practical approaches to these challenges. Instruction in the analysis of language structure and verse forms, verse structure, style, metre, imagery and language texture forms a key component to this course.
Through a classical repertoire, the student will be taught a systematic analysis of verse structure which, they will learn, is an integral part of an actor's development. This work on unambiguous structural matters will enable the student actor to articulate experience in time, avoiding the risk of leaving performance at the level of the pursuit of feeling and expression. Focus will also be placed on how this analysis can direct the performer, facilitating discovery in both action and character.
The course will also create an awareness of the vocal, physical and emotional demands placed on the performer when working with these plays and through practice, promote knowledge of how the actor’s instrument can meet these demands.
The module will run in two parts, the first part focusing on the demands of the verse monologue and its performing challenges, culminating in a solo performance assessment. The second part will explore performance text analysis when working with group scenes and how this analysis can direct the performer. The course will close with assessed practical scene performances taken from classical texts accompanied by a written scene analysis for later submission.
The module explores 'physical theatre' as a complex and rich term which describes works focusing on the primacy of the body in performance rather than text or character. It will focus on how Physical Theatre practitioners have deployed compositional techniques, and the principals that underlie such work. It differs from Physical Theatre 1 in focussing less on training for performance and much more on composition and different possibilities of structuring Physical Performance, using space, sound, movement, rhythm and the body.
Students will conduct in-depth investigations into the relationship between training and performance and devising techniques and compositional approaches through weekly practical workshops.
This module will introduce students to practical and theoretical aspects of stand-up comedy. Initially, they will analyse the work of individual comedians, exploring such issues as comic theory, traditions of stand-up, and historical context. Later, they will work on creating their own short stand-up acts, generating original material and developing key performance skills such as developing persona, working an audience, improvisation, and characterisation.
The module will offer students the chance to work on an independent creative project of their own devising, which will be a culmination of practical elements of their degree programme. Performance, workshop, design, stagecraft, producing or other creative skills encountered in earlier modules will be developed, extended and explored in autonomous work, which will be supported by regular group supervision sessions. Projects will also involve research which will contextualise the practical elements.
Supervision will take place in timetabled teaching slots, in which students involved in several projects will be supervised together. Practical outcomes might take the form of performances, workshops or public interventions.
This module will ask students to critically engage with fundamental questions about theatre, such as 'what is performance?', 'who decides what a performance means?', 'why do we care about the fates of fictional characters?', 'why do we enjoy watching tragic events on stage?' and 'what ethical, political and philosophical questions does performance raise?''. After writing an essay focussing on one of these questions, the class will then turn its attention to a range of performance texts and the various conceptual and philosophical questions that arise from them. Alongside theoretical discussion of these concepts, the students will also direct excerpts of the plays in question, allowing them to bring the theory and practice into fruitful dialogue in an assessed performance.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for this course are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.*
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.
Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.
Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
For most modules, you have one two-hour seminar per week. The Final-Year Dissertation is based entirely on your private research but is supervised by a tutor and includes workshops and the chance to participate in an undergraduate conference. Assessment varies from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework, usually in the ratio 50:50 or 40:60.
Comparative Literature students can also choose to take a module that is linked to our SWIPE (Student Work in Progress Exposition) conference. SWIPE is an annual one-day conference organised by Comparative Literature students: it is a platform for our third-year students who give 15-minute presentations on their final-year dissertation projects. SWIPE is a fantastic experience for students, as they learn everything about planning, organising and running a conference, as well as about the art of preparing and giving professional conference presentations. For more information on SWIPE, please consult our website: www.kent.ac.uk/secl/complit/swipe.html
We also offer a module designed specifically for students who are planning to embark on a career in teaching: Comparative Literature and English & Linguistics in the Classroom.
Teaching is through workshops, seminars, lectures and practical projects. Drama and Theatre modules are continuously assessed based on coursework, projects and presentations, performances, essays and dissertations.
For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours. The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:
Drama and Cinematics at Kent scored 89% overall and was ranked 7th for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2023.
Studying Comparative Literature and Drama, you learn to think critically, develop the skills of close reading and effective communication, and gain confidence and experience in expressing your ideas, both orally and in writing. These key transferable skills are essential for graduates as they move into the job market.
The Drama Department has developed partnerships with some of the major players in theatre in the UK including: Battersea Arts Centre, the RSC and The Gate. Selected programmes offer you the opportunity to go on work placements which can lead to future full-time employment, while the range of modules we offer ensures you develop key skills such as planning and organisation, team working, adaptability and leadership.
Our graduates have found jobs in diverse areas including journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching, as well as in banking, marketing analysis and project management. A significant percentage of our students pursue further study for postgraduate qualifications.
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