Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Comparative Literature and Italian with a Year Abroad - BA (Hons)

UCAS code QR23

2018

Comparative Literature broadens the study of literature to transcend national boundaries to consider works from other countries and cultures. Taking Comparative Literature alongside Italian, you are able to make use of your language skills and insights into Italian culture to study European literature in close detail.

2018

Overview

You study texts ranging from Classical Antiquity to the present day in English translation, including works by such famous authors as Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Goethe, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Flaubert, Dickens, Proust and Kafka, as well as Italian classics such as Dante and Calvino.

Italy is a cornerstone in culture, art and history across Europe. By learning Italian, you give yourself a tool to explore this cultural richness and to open your eyes to its Roman heritage, the Renaissance, modern architecture, fashion and car design. Italian is spoken not only in its home country, but also by over 15 million people in Switzerland, North America and Australia.

Kent is an ideal location to study Italian. The majority of the Italian teaching staff are native speakers and we regularly host Italian exchange students, giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the language. This is supplemented by excellent technical facilities, including audio, video and computer-assisted language learning.

Between Stages 2 and 3, you spend a year studying or working abroad in Italy, which will greatly improve your language skills as well as allowing you to immerse yourself in and develop your understanding of Italian culture.

Studying on this joint honours, you gain expertise in a specific national tradition, making you able to compare the works of Italian authors to other European ones, and so benefitting from a international perspective on literary history, movements and genres. You also gain the language skills to prepare you for the global job market.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2017, over 95% of final-year Comparative Literature students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. Comparative Literature at Kent was ranked 1st for overall satisfaction.

Italian at Kent was ranked 1st for teaching quality and 6th overall in The Times Good University Guide 2018In the National Student Survey 2017, 100% of final-year students in Italian were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. Italian Studies at Kent was ranked 1st for overall satisfaction.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

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 ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

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 fairytales into written forms, and discusses various short prose genres including Aesopian fables, myths, folktales and fairytales, as well as tales of the fantastic, 19th century art-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 practice 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 fairytale and on genre theories are studied in conjunction with the primary texts.

Read more
30

In the decade between 1943-1952, Italian cinema produced a series of films that departed dramatically from the traditions of mainstream cinema (both that of Hollywood and that produced under Fascism). These 'Neorealist' films were enormously influential around the world and had a lasting impact on film technique and style. This course will introduce students to the study of Italian cinema through an exploration of Neorealism – arguably the most significant 'movement' in Italian film history – and the work of several of the major Italian filmmakers involved in the movement (e.g. Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti).

In particular the course will consider:

- How to analyse a film, in terms of narrative, technique and style..

- The ways in which Neorealism constituted an alternative mode of practice to that of mainstream cinema (e.g. Hollywood) and the ways in which it rejected the tenets of the cinema of the Fascist era.

- The notion of realism in the cinema, in particular through the work of theorists such as André Bazin and Cesare Zavattini, and the ways in which this concept can be applied to the films studied.

- The social and political upheavals of wartime and post-war Italy and how these were reflected and negotiated in film.

- How and why Neorealism ended in the early 1950s and the ways in which its legacy is reflected in later Italian films.

Read more
15

This module aims to introduce students to Italian literature and culture from the Unification to the late 20th century. It will explore the principal historical events of this period (e.g. the Risorgimento, Fascism, the Second World War and the birth of the new Republic, the 'economic miracle', the 'years of lead' and the Berlusconi era) and examine how these periods have been interpreted by a number of key literary authors, artists and intellectuals such as Di Lampedusa, Vittorini and Pasolini. Particular emphasis will be placed on the relationship between Italian literature and social and political history.

Read more
15

This is an intensive module for absolute beginners, Post-GCSE students and students who have not yet mastered level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). On successfully completing the module students will have mastered level A2. The emphasis in this course is on acquiring a sound knowledge of the structure of the language as well as basic vocabulary and cultural insights while developing the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

Read more
30

This module is for Post-A-level students and students who have mastered level A2 but not yet B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). On successfully completing the module students will have mastered level B1. The emphasis in this course is on furthering knowledge of the structure of the language as well as vocabulary and cultural insights while further developing the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

Read more
30

The twentieth-century imagination was marked by a spirit of doubt, especially of the Enlightenment faith in reason's capacity to advance mankind 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.

Read more
15

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 to be 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.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module will introduce students to a wide range of films produced in different European and Latin American countries between the late 1980s and the present day. The module will focus on prevailing trends and dominant themes in contemporary European and Hispanic cinemas. The aim is to make students aware of the place which cinema has played and continues to play in the cultural life of Europe and Latin America, its importance in establishing national and supra-national identity, and the ways in which international relations are expressed through film production. The module will begin with an overview of European and Latin American cinema, and then will be divided into geographically determined sections (United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Cuba) before being brought together again in the final conclusive lecture. The course is also designed to provide students with basic film terminology, as well as with basic tools for cultural analysis.

Read more
15

This module focuses on the development of the Romantic movement in Britain, France, Germany and Russia. It begins with the work of eighteenth century writers such as Goethe and Rousseau, and then explores their influence upon British, French and German writers of the early Romantic period (Blake, Chateaubriand, Kleist). The middle part of the module mainly concentrates upon British Romantic poetry, grouped around themes such as art, nature, politics and identity. The final part of the module examines how Russian writers, such as Lermontov and Pushkin, responded to the legacy of their Western counterparts. There will also be exploration during the course of the module of sub-genres such as the Gothic (Walpole, Dacre, M. Shelley), the historical novel (Dumas) and the confession (de Quincey). The work of painters, such as Fuseli, Goya and Turner, will be available as a resource via Moodle.

Read more
30

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 the literary engagement with the following in the classical world: myth (including the stories of the Trojan War, Oedipus, Jason and Medea, and the founding of Rome); the relationship between human beings and the gods, between the sexes, and between the human and the animal; and the journey motif. Themes explored included sexuality, violence, conceptions of justice, metamorphosis, and madness. The module introduces students to some of the major genres of Western literature (tragedy, comedy, the epic), and considers how these were theorized by Aristotle. It also encourages students to reflect on questions of cultural transmission, and on why the myths represented in classical literature should have proved to be such a rich source for the literature of the West.

Read more
15

This module introduces students to some of the most influential theories of World Literature, which are studied alongside a selection of literary examples. The theories include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's reflections formulated in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Goethe coined the term 'world literature' [Weltliteratur] to describe the international circulation and reception of literary works in Europe. In the course of the module, we 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 are 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.

Read more
15
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This module is the natural follow-on for those who have, in the previous academic year, successfully taken an intensive beginners Italian course such as IT301, and who have covered the basics of grammar, acquired a stock of high frequency vocabulary and reached a degree of proficiency beyond GCSE and approaching A-level (A2 way stage in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference).

IT508 is designed to bring students from A2 level to B1 threshold, turning students into independent users of Italian, in both oral and written contexts. The course is thus also designed to prepare students for their year abroad and independent life in Italy as a foreign country. IT508 is an intensive course, which develops the student's active and passive aural and written skills.

Read more
30

IT563 is an intermediate level module. Its aims are to strengthen and widen the linguistic knowledge provided in IT308, to consolidate students' vocabulary and improve their knowledge of written and spoken Italian through immersion in a variety of texts, and to practise translation skills both from and into Italian. IT563 is an intensive course which requires serious commitment.

Read more
30

This module focuses on a number of Italian contemporary short stories. More specifically, this module discusses the literary treatment of love, and the love story, in the short stories of some of the most important Italian writers of the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century. Works by worldwide renowned authors such as Italo Calvino, Natalia Ginzburg, Cesare Pavese, and Leonardo Sciascia, accomplished "postmodernist" writers belonging to a younger generation such as Antonio Tabucchi and Pier Vittorio Tondelli, as well as less celebrated authors such as Gianni Celati and Fabrizia Ramondino, will be taken into consideration. While not underestimating the profound economic, social and political changes that Italy underwent during the last sixty years, particular emphasis will be given to the similar way in which all these writers seem to fictionally conceive of the love relationship as a missed encounter. In spite of the manifold forms of love being described in these texts (between husband and wife; wife and lover; young boy and ideal father; sister and brother; mother and daughter; two young men, etc.), all the short stories chronologically analysed in this module seem to rely on Calvino's provoking suggestion according to which the missed encounter is the "fundamental element" of love relationships.

Read more
15

Despite her incomparable heritage, Italy experienced for many centuries a sense of cultural provincialism, with the world's intellectual curiosity switching to Paris, London, New York, and other centres of innovation. This module focuses on the clear connections between rapid socio-economic and socio-political change and the thrust for cultural modernity that made 20th century Italy once more a key contributor to the literary and visual arts in Europe and beyond. A wide variety of Italian 'texts' of the first half of the 20th century will be taken into consideration, including novels, plays, short stories and films.

Read more
15

This will depend on the subject matter and the advice of the supervisor. The subject will be broadly within the field of Italian Studies.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
30

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 examines 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, and what hidden desires and anxieties do they allow authors and filmmakers to express? The vampire is an allegorically highly potent figure which 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. Texts and films to be studied include John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819), Théophile Gautier’s Clarimonde (1836), J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), F. W. Murnau’s and Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu adaptations (1922 and 1979), Angela Carter’s The Lady of the House of Love (1979), Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire (1994) and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (2005)

Read more
15

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 and the Man Booker Prize the Prix Goncourt (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. (It links up logically with the C-level module CP321 Literature and Nationhood)

Read more
15

This module looks at a group of politically inspired novels and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989, others deal with Latin American political unrest, the Middle East conflict and the Islamic revolution in Iran. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times'. But we will also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction with power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject and in which they participate. The approach is comparative in two senses as the texts range historically and culturally as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Spanish)

Read more
30

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.

Read more
15

This module investigates the representation of love, desire and the body in a selection of texts by women writers from different temporal, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In particular we will look at the way representations of love, desire and the body reflect the respective socio-cultural contexts and the situation of women therein, how these writers deal with themes such as love, desire and eroticism, and what aesthetic strategies they use to tackle them. What models of feminine behaviour are celebrated or criticised? To what extent are relevant representational conventions adhered to or transgressed in these works?

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre for example provides a complex representation of a split and conflicted female identity, torn between demands of the body, passions, rages and desires, and the demands of the mind, the spirit and the intellect. This conflict is externalised in the form of the characters Bertha Mason and Helen Burns, alter egos which Jane has to overcome and reconcile. Jane Eyre will offer a useful touchstone for other representations of female figures caught between social conventions and desires, and their attempts to come to terms with them.

Students will be asked to engage with the siginificance of images and representations of women proliferated through literature. These representations provide or question role models, perpetuate or problematise stereotypical versions of feminine goals and aspirations. Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on close readings of the various works, and students will be asked to pay close attention to cultural differences and variations, and to examine how the conceptions and representations of love and desire changed in the course of time.

The selected fictions allow a comparative examination of a wide range of different perceptions by women writers of the body, of gender, identity, love, desire and sexuality and the way these reflect the respective wider ideological framework. Close readings of these texts are complemented by selected references to a body of feminist literary theory.

Read more
30

The module examines the development of nineteenth-century European fiction against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution and its social and cultural effects. It argues that the emergence of realism, naturalism and decadence as literary movements constituted not only responses to social change but were also artistic revolutions in themselves. A representative selection of writers, including Balzac, Eliot, Zola and Huysmans, will be studied. The module will also make reference to poetry (Baudelaire, Swinburne) where necessary and to the visual arts of the period. Themes will include: modes of literary production, class and economic conditions, gender, sexuality and desire, science and technology, religion and aesthetics, and the social positions of men and women.

Read more
30
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year abroad

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. 

All European Language students (French, German, Hispanic Studies and Italian) are required to spend a Year Abroad between Stages 2 and 3 in a country where the European language is spoken. You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stage 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad. If the requirement is not met, you may have to postpone your Year Abroad.

The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification. You spend the year working as an English language assistant or in approved employment, or studying at one of our partner universities. For a full list of our partner universities, please visit Go Abroad.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

The module develops advanced proficiency in writing, speaking and comprehending Italian. It concentrates on translation into Italian and English and the development of analytical skills in the production of written and spoken Italian. Translation exercises confront students with a variety of advanced texts in different styles and registers, and encourage accuracy and critical reflection as well as acquisition and consolidation of grammatical structures. The language skills component combines discursive writing on advanced topics with the development of proper oral competence through discussion. Conversation classes with a native speaker develop presentational ability, and enable students to speak fluently and idiomatically at the advanced level.

Students engage in the following activities throughout the year:

• translation from Italian into English, using a range of registers and topics

• translation from English into Italian, using journalistic and literary texts

• study grammatical and lexical subtleties of the Italian language

• group discussion on specific topics

• preparation for oral examination in small groups

• written composition in Italian.

Read more
30

This module aims at developing students' visual literacy within the context of Italian studies, by teaching the skills necessary for the reading of static visual materials, especially photography. Contextually, it aims at developing and enhancing the critical response of students to such imagery, with particular focus on their social, cultural and political context. Photography worldwide has been at the centre of daily life, artistic production and political propaganda for the last century and a half. This holds all the more true for Italy, whose contemporary history as a unified country begins almost at the same time as the popularisation of photography. This module will explore this relationship on a socio-historical basis: It will analyse, among other topics, the portrayal of the Risorgimento; Lombroso's criminological and anthropometric use of photography; pseudo-anthropological photography in colonialist exploits, racism and eugenics; Fascist propaganda; futurism and modernism; neo-realist documentary photography and its influence on photojournalism of the 1960s-70s; the paparazzi, fashion and advertisement; photography and the contemporary visual arts; digital photography and social networks. By means of a close reading of photographic and other visual materials, the students will gain a profound understanding of the practices (ideological, political, commercial, aesthetic, social) that produce such materials within the modern Italian cultural context.

Read more
15

This course complicates the notion that there is a unifying concept of an Italian national cinema.

Specifically, it will examine particular instances of filmic production operating outside of the national and cinematic capital of Rome, examining both the factors determining and constraining the emergence of such filmmaking practices, and the ways in which the films they produce may differ from those produced in the capital and associated with an Italian national cinema.

To achieve this, the module will focus on a number of case studies, such as:

• The cinema of Naples, analysed in relation to the question of Neapolitan identity and cultural difference.

• The cinema of Turin, as a product of deliberate regional funding and cultural heritage strategies.

• The cinema of Sicily, seen in relation to the problematising of cultural stereotypes.

• How certain 'national' film productions have dealt with the problematic notion of Italian national/regional identity.

Read more
15

The student will spend one half-day per week for ten weeks in a school. Students will work in a school, with a nominated teacher, for ten half days during the Spring Term and will have the opportunity to promote their subject in a variety of ways. The Course Convenor will place students in appropriate schools, either primary or secondary. They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. They will act to some extent in the role of a teaching assistant, by helping individual pupils who are having difficulties or by working with small groups. They may take 'hotspots': brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a language topic or talk about aspects of University life. They must keep a weekly journal reflecting on their activities at their designated school. The university sessions and weekly school work will complement each other. Therefore, attendance to university sessions is crucial as it will also give the students the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance.

Some travel may be required by students taking this module. In this instance, it should be noted that the University is unable to cover the cost of any such journey.

Read more
30

This module discusses contemporary film adaptations (90s-2000s) taken from four different Italian textual sources (children's tale, monologue, novel and non-fiction) under the following main aspects:

• as "parallel" works which supplement the original literary texts. Films expand, update and adjust the themes of the original literary texts to the historical, social and cultural context in which the adaptations are made.

• as works of literary criticism. The way the narrative of a film adaptation is structured and the way a film chooses to selectively focus on some particular episodes and themes is evidence of how the film director critically analyses the literary text and "re-writes" it in the form of a screenplay and in the editing of the material filmed;

• as an altogether "new" product that structurally differs from the original literary source. Cinema's language relies on signifying images or visual signs that are irreducible to those of written and spoken languages;

• finally, we will analyse the impact that filmmaking had on the art of writing, assessing the extent to which contemporary novels are often already written with the big screen in mind.

Read more
15

This module may only be taken provided that other Italian non-language units are being followed throughout the final year. The subject of the Essay will be agreed between the student and a supervisor appointed by the Section; it will normally arise from work done either in other Stage 2 and 3 modules or during the year abroad, but other topics are not necessarily excluded. It will be based on the student's own research under the guidance of a supervisor.

Read more
30

This module explores the notions of exile, travel, migration, and displacement by focusing on an international corpus of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts that concern the transnational movement of European and non-European writers across the globe. Migratory trajectories will be studied in relation to the specific historical and cultural contexts out of which the texts originated and that concern complex issues of race, identity, gender, and imperial history. Writers examined include Gustave Flaubert, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Marguerite Duras, Henri Michaux, Roberto Bolaño, Jack Kerouac, Gao Xingjian, and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. The course aims to provide students with an international and comparative methodology for studying the phenomenon of travel, migration, and exile. Students will also be equipped with a critical framework that will allow them to interrogate and problematise Eurocentric and exoticizing perspectives of Asian, African, and Latin American countries, particularly what the critics Mary Louise Pratt and Edward Said have theorised as ‘imperial eyes’ and ‘Orientalism’ respectively.

Read more
30

The module will begin with the study of some of the major avant-garde movements (including Expressionism, Futurism, Imagism, Vorticism, Dada, and Surrealism) that sprang up in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Students will read a range of short manifestos and literary works by Tristan Tzara, Filippo Marinetti, T. E. Hulme, Wyndham Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, André Breton, and others. Once both the diversity and the international nature of modernism have been considered, students will go on to look in depth at a series of major modernist writers from different national backgrounds, and to identify what these writers share, what distinguishes them from one another, and, in some cases, what sets them in violent opposition. The aim here will be to give students a sense of the plurality of modernisms and the conflicts that were internal to the movement. Although the focus will be on some of the most significant individual works of modernist literature (for instance, Proust’s Swann’s Way, Kafka’s The Trial, Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Eliot’s The Waste Land), shorter texts, both literary and critical/theoretical, will also constitute the recommended reading in preparation for seminars. Seminal essays by major commentators on the modernist movement such as Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukács, and Theodor Adorno will constitute part of the primary reading. The aim throughout will be to strike a balance between close reading and the consideration of the more general theoretical and political issues at stake in the modernist ‘revolution of the word’. Students will also be encouraged to explore the ways in which modernism finds expression in the visual arts, particularly in Expressionism, Cubism, and Abstraction.

Read more
30

The module will begin by studying some of the major early postmodern writers such as Charles Olson and Alain Robbe-Grillet. This will be followed by a comparative analysis of second-generation postmodern literature in both Europe and the United States, including writers such as Italo Calvino and Thomas Pynchon. The module will also reference postmodern texts in other media such as film (the ‘Free Cinema’ movement) and the visual arts (most notably, Pop Art). Almost from its inception, postmodernism has been subject to theorization and to a highly charged debate over its status as either a radical and liberating movement or as a mere symptom of ‘late capitalism’ and a media-saturated culture in which ‘the medium is the message’. Students will study some of the key theoretical documents on the postmodern, including extracts from the work of Jean Baudrillard, Fredric Jameson and Jean-François Lyotard.

Read more
15

In the immediate aftermath of the cataclysmic events of the Shoah, the philosopher and sociologist Theodor W. Adorno interrogated the meaning of 'culture' after the failure of culture. In contemporary discourse, the Shoah has long since been turned into a marketable icon of suffering. Indeed, the encroachment on the victims' memory of what has contentiously been called the 'Holocaust industry’ or, with a gruesome pun, ‘Shoah business’, is frequently perceived as threatening to pervert remembrance of this singular event in history. Ever since Adorno’s often quoted and frequently misunderstood ‘dictum’ that it is barbaric to write poetry ‘after Auschwitz’ (1949), a discussion about the value and the significance of the representation of the Shoah in cultural production has been engaged in. Many of the concerns focused on in this debate remain controversial, among them the questions of the memory of the Shoah and its medial representations, and of the potentially therapeutic value of confronting the emotional trauma of genocide in cultural production.

In this module, students will enter into these debates by enquiring into the ability of narrative, in literature, film and other forms of memorialisation, to represent the ‘unrepresentable’, by exploring the use of these narratives as ‘history’, and by investigating the so-called ‘Americanisation’ of the Shoah. In addition, they will enquire into the historical and cultural contexts of the Shoah.

In the first term particular emphasis will therefore be placed on the cultural and historical context of the ‘Jewish question’, including nationalism, race theory and anti-Semitism. Source material to be discussed in seminars will include excerpts from theoretical, (pseudo-)scientific writings, literary and legal texts and films which document the paradigm change from religious anti-Judaism to a primarily racially motivated anti-Semitism. This will be followed by discussions of the literature of testimony by survivors of the Shoah, of poetic responses to the Shoah and of ‘fabricated’ memory. The first term will be concluded by a discussion of early media coverage of the liberation of the concentration camp of Buchenwald and by Allied efforts of representing the Shoah as a means of effecting their policy of re-education in post-war Germany.

The second term will be focused on more recent forms of representation and memorialisation of the Shoah, concentrating especially on formal and medial variety and innovation as well as shifts of perspective.

Read more
30

This module looks at a group of politically inspired literary texts, comics and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989. Others deal with the Middle East conflict, and the Islamic revolution in Iran and Mao's Cultural Revolution in China, or power relations in other contexts. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times'. But we also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction and power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject, in which they participate, and on which they reflect metafictionally. The approach is comparative in various ways as the texts range historically and culturally, as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Polish, Russian and Chinese)

Read more
30

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 and the Man Booker Prize the Prix Goncourt (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. (It links up logically with the C-level module CP321 Literature and Nationhood)

Read more
15

This is a module about the intersection of colonial power relations, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism, feminism, and identity politics in literature from 1940 to 2010 which interrogates the influence of imperialism on a sense of self. It considers the writing of a number of women and men from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka in a range of genres from the Francophone and Anglophone traditions (short story, essay, novel, autobiography). In light of the complex relationship between coloniser and colonised, we consider the political activism 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 psychoanalytical perspectives of Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), 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 our global world. In so Doing, we acknowledge the significance of indigenous languages and dialects as signifers of subjecthood 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 Colonial and Postcolonial studies.

Read more
15

Since its inception in Ancient Greece and its first theorization by Aristotle in the Poetics, tragedy has been considered the highest literary genre, treating some of the most profound philosophical questions such as the limits of personal and social freedom, the relationship of the individual to society, and the nature of justice. This module will examine how the conventions of the genre were adapted to meet the challenges of representing new social conditions and understandings of reality from the late nineteenth century onwards. It will begin by exploring the innovations of naturalistic drama (Ibsen, Strindberg) before moving onto the 'high' Modernism of writers such as Beckett and Brecht, before concluding with the work of contemporary dramatists such as Churchill and Mamet. The module will also examine the work of modern and contemporary theorists of tragedy including Adorno, Nietzsche, Steiner, Szondi and Williams.

Read more
15

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). Meticulously, he keeps record of his conquests. 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. While Casanova slept with everyone but took interest in nobody, Don Juan's quest is also motivated by the hidden desire to find a woman that would be his equal. 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, poems, philosophical texts, opera, and film, we will focus on notions of modern individualism in relation to narcissism and solitude. In addition, we shall also engage with theoretical concepts related to speech act theory (J.L. Austin’s How to do Things with Words), Judith Butler’s thoughts on gender as performance, Sigmund Freud’s observations on sexuality, and Jacques Lacan’s description of ego-constitution.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module will provide the opportunity for third year undergraduates to gain valuable transferable skills by giving them some first-hand teaching experience in a primary or secondary school classroom. Each student will spend half a day each week for one term in a local school under the supervision of a specific teacher, who will act as a mentor, and decide the tasks and responsibilities of the student. The weekly university sessions and school work will complement each other. Therefore, attendance to university sessions is crucial as it will also give the students the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance.

They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions the students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers' tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, their role will be as teaching assistants, by helping individual pupils who are having difficulties or by working with small groups. They may teach brief or whole sessions with the whole class or with a small group of students where they explain a topic related to the school syllabus. They may also talk about aspects of University life. They must keep a weekly journal reflecting on their activities at their designated school.

Read more
30

This module seeks to explore how novels and plays are adapted and interpreted for the screen. We shall be looking at how certain texts lend themselves to multiple reshaping such as Laclos’ 'Dangerous Liasions' and Henry James’ 'The Turn of the Screw', both of which have been adapted for the screen more than once. We shall also analyse lesser known works that have gone on to become feature films, such as Arthur Schnitzler’s short work ‘Dream Story’, filmed as 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Adaptations directed by widely recognised filmmakers such as De Sica, Max Ophuls, Kubrick and Pier Paolo Pasolini will also be examined with a view to eliciting and understanding their particular approach to, and filmic vision of, written texts.

Read more
30
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching and assessment

Comparative Literature

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.

Italian

Teaching is by lectures and seminars. We have extensive technical facilities, including audio, video and computer-assisted language learning.

Depending on the modules you select, assessment throughout all stages of the course varies from 100% coursework, to a combination of examination and coursework, in the ratio 50:50, 60:40, 70:30 or 80:20.

The School of European Culture and Languages, to which Italian and Comparative Literature belong, has secured two paid work placements at Fondazione CRT for students of Italian studies at Kent. The placements involve either teaching English at the University of Turin or working at Fondazione CRT on projects including translation, research and correspondence with international organisations.

Programme aims

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:

Careers

Studying Comparative Literature and Italian you learn to think critically, develop the skills of close reading and effective communication, and gain confidence and experience in expressing your ideas. These key transferable skills are essential for graduates as they move into the job market. In addition, your ability to speak another European language is a key asset in the global employment market, and many employers view a graduate with overseas study experience as significantly more employable.

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.

Independent rankings

Of Comparative Literature students who graduated from Kent in 2016, 100% were in work or further study within six months, making them the most successful in the UK (DLHE).

For graduate prospects, Modern Languages at Kent was ranked 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

GCSE

Grade B or 6 in a second language

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points in HL including 4 at HL or 5 at SL in a second language

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200

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.* 

Your fee status

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 Year in Industry

For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

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.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.