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

Overview

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

Comparative Literature transcends national and cultural boundaries, offering you a truly global view of world literature. You study texts ranging from Classical Antiquity to the present day in English translation, including works by such famous authors as Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Dante, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Joyce and Woolf, as well as German-language authors such as Goethe and Kafka.

German is one of Europe's most important languages for business and culture. Worldwide, it is the second-most widely used language on the internet (W3Techs 2014). It is also frequently used as a second language in Eastern Europe, serving as a means of communication across international boundaries. Fluency in the German language, combined with knowledge of political and cultural developments in the German-speaking world, opens up career opportunities in many areas of Europe.

You are required to spend a year working or studying abroad between your second and final year of study. In previous years, students have studied at our partner institutions in a country appropriate to their programme of study. You’ll develop your language skills, grow in self-confidence, gain a new academic perspective, and enhance your employability.

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

In this talk Ben Hutchinson, Professor of European Literature at the University of Kent and Academic Director of the Paris School of Arts and Culture, introduces comparative literature.

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. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made.Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

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

  • Certificate

    A level

    BBB

  • Certificate

    GCSE

    Grade B or 6 in a second language

     

  • Certificate

    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.

  • Certificate

    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. A typical offer would be to achieve DDM.

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 at 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. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

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. 

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

Modules

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.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

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.

Find out more about CP311

Optional modules may include

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.

Find out more about GE301

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.

Find out more about GE329

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.

Find out more about CP305

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.

Find out more about CP306

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.

Find out more about CP317

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 theorised 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.

Find out more about CP324

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.

Find out more about CP325

This module looks at European Romanticism as a cultural-revolutionary movement. Hoping to break free from established hierarchies, norms, and conventions, one cherished goal of the Romantics was to liberate the modern individual from 'society', understood as a self-inflicted state of alienation.

This module traces the manifold manifestations of Romantic thought within their specific cultural-historical contexts. Our discussion will focus on a selection of French, German, and British Romantic writers (for example: Rousseau, Chateaubriand, Goethe, the Brothers Schlegel, Kleist, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, and Mary Shelley). We will critically analyse their works in close alignment with a selection of Romantic and more recent theoretical works (for example by: Freud, Todorov, and de Man) to gauge their significance within their own cultural-historical framework, and to consider their potential legacy in literature and society today.

Find out more about CP327

The period between the decline of the Western Roman Empire and the Renaissance, roughly embracing the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, is generally referred to as the Middle Ages. The intermediary character suggested by this term reflects the frequently pejorative evaluation this period has received. However, the medieval period produced many lasting material monuments, such as the great European cathedrals (including Canterbury Cathedral) and castles, and literary monuments, such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio's Decameron,, the saints' lives, the Physiologus tradition, and the many Arthurian legends.

This module is designed to introduce students to a range of important literary works from the period, alongside highly influential religious and philosophical works. These works are placed in their historical context, and are explored through a focus on topics such as book and manuscript production, the allegorical tradition, perceptions of the (black) other, art and architecture, and religious experience. Particular attention will also be given from a historical perspective to successive medievalisms from the early modern period to the present day (e.g., films, video games) and to the respective attempts of appropriation and reinterpretation of which they are indicators. The module typically also includes an excursion to Canterbury Cathedral and the Cathedral Archive in order to enable students to experience the material culture of the Middle Ages first hand.

Find out more about CP328

This introduction to the modern period in German literature covers a variety of representative authors and works including lyric poetry, drama, the novella and short story. Texts are selected for their relevance, not only to the development of varieties of German writing, but also to the social and political development of the German-speaking territories during these seminal years. Literary movements discussed include the Sturm und Drang, Romanticism, Naturalism, Expressionism and political engagement in the interwar period. Political and social currents include the repression of free speech during the Vormärz, German Nationalism in the late nineteenth century, the Unification of Germany, the First World War and the rise of National Socialism.

Find out more about GE311

German cultural production since 1945 had been largely dominated by ideologies and politics, by the forced forty-year division into two republics in opposite camps in the Cold War, and by the legacy of National Socialism, which factors all contributed to the eruption of student unrest in the 1960s. The material studied on the module covers the problems of returning soldiers in 1945 and the hardships endured by the civilian population; the trauma of the Holocaust; the pioneering idealism in the foundational phase in the German Democratic Republic and a satirical take on that; the pain caused to ordinary individuals by the erection of the Berlin Wall; the significance of the Vietnam War to the Left in the 1960s and the turn to violence in the pursuit of political goals in the following decade; and the study of these materials will allow students to attain a well-grounded cultural and historical understanding of the period from 1945 to the present.

Find out more about GE312

This module is designed to introduce students to German-language literature and its development from the 1760s to 1933). All texts will be taught in English translation, and throughout the module students will be encouraged to consider the implications of literary translation and of studying translated texts. A variety of genres will be covered, including poetry, drama and narrative prose. Works will be analysed not only within their literary-historical but also their social and political context.

Find out more about GE326

The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 led to fundamental cultural and political re-alignments in German-speaking countries, unleashing a wave of cultural comment and creative activity. The 1990s and early twenty-first century saw a revitalisation of the film scene in both Germany and Austria, evident not only in highly acclaimed niche productions but also in a series of international box-office hits. This module will explore the themes and styles of 'post-Wende' German-language cinema, focusing on representations of the past and the phenomenon of ‘Ostalgie’; multiculturalism and migration; the transformation of Berlin post-1989; and the documentary turn in German and Austrian film since 2000.

Find out more about GE328

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 2

Optional modules may include

This module encourages students to establish connections between the critical analysis of literary texts and creative writing practice. Adopting a 'learning by doing'-driven analytical approach, students will engage both theoretically and practically with a selection of literary features and techniques. By reading closely a wide-ranging selection of short literary sample texts that encompass older and contemporary texts originally written in English as well as translations of texts written in languages other than English, we will analyse topics including character, point of view, setting, voice, style, structure, openings, and endings. We will also pay close attention to questions of translation and cultural specificity, and to the challenges of working with translations in a creative writing context.

Find out more about CP662

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.

Find out more about CP510

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).

Find out more about CP524

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.

Find out more about CP532

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.

Find out more about CP629

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.

Find out more about CP644

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.

Find out more about CP646

This module is an intermediate level module. Its aims are to strengthen and widen the linguistic knowledge provided in GRMN3010 (German Lower Intermediate B1), to consolidate students' vocabulary and improve their knowledge of written and spoken German through immersion in a variety of texts, and to practise translation skills both from and into German.

Find out more about GE507

This module is the natural follow-on for those who have, in the previous academic year, successfully taken an intensive beginners German course such as GRMN3290 (German Beginners A1-A2 (Intensive)), 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 waystage in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference).

This module is designed to allow students, upon completion, to demonstrate a level of ability up to B2 threshold, turning students into independent users of German in both oral and written contexts. The course is thus also designed to prepare students for their year abroad and independent life in Germany as a foreign country. This module is an intensive course, which develops the student's active and passive aural and written skills.

Find out more about GE516

This module provides a unique perspective on German cultural history alongside key developments in technology and media. It draws on cutting-edge research in German studies as well as history, philosophy and media theory. Topics span from the 1400s to the present day and include: 1) How the invention of the printing press enabled the Protestant Reformation; 2) How German literature was born from the culture of letter writing in the Eighteenth Century; 3) The pivotal role of newspapers for a German national conscience in the 1900s; 4) How the radio paved the way for Nazi dictatorship; 5) The effects of television in overcoming German post-war division; 6) Social Media's impact on the emergence of right-wing populism.

Students will engage with a range of historical documents, literary texts, audio as well as visual media, and analyse their impact on German culture and politics. There will be the opportunity for students to present their work in both traditional and innovative forms of assessment (short videos, podcasts and blogs). Besides a deep analytical engagement with the culturally transformative effects of technology and media, students will gain practical skills in the expression and presentation of their ideas, using a variety of conventional as well as digital means.

Find out more about GE553

This module will explore the development of German-language poetry in the 20th century. The methodology will comprise three main strands: the thematic, the stylistic and the politico-historical. Individual poets will be read in terms of what they write, how they write and why they write (i.e. the context of historical and political events). The module will introduce students to a range of poetic styles and movements: starting with the fin-de-siècle and Impressionist poetry, the module will move through Expressionism, war poetry, anti-war poetry, holocaust poetry, political poetry of East and West Germany, the poetry of exile and return and contemporary post-Wende poetry, to name but a few of the periods covered.

Find out more about GE571

This module examines a selection of essential texts drawn from the period from 1775 to the first years of the nineteenth century, in which German literature achieved European stature. It looks at innovation and newly emerging confidence in the treatment of the major literary forms (prose fiction, drama, and lyric poetry). But it also studies the currents of violence, passion and madness which these forms were used to convey in an era defined by the iconoclasm of the Sturm und Drang movement and by revolutionary upheaval in France. We will look at the original angry young men of German literature (Werther, Die Räuber), dramas of love and betrayal (Faust), as well as prose fiction which retains its power to shock and puzzle even today (Kleist). The texts studied treat desire, problematic relationships of power and gender, and the crisis of individuals caught up in the painful birth of European modernity.

Find out more about GE584

This module explores one of the major contributions of Germanic culture to modernism. Straddling the period immediately before, during, and after the First World War, Expressionism emerged as a reaction against the mechanising forces of modern industrial society, seeking nothing less than a 'renewal of mankind'. With compelling intensity, the Expressionists developed an immediately recognisable style that found an audience across Europe. This module looks at works from a range of genres: from poetry to drama, from prose (both fiction and manifestos) to painting, Expressionism was a key strand of international modernism across the Arts, embracing figures as diverse as Georg Kaiser, Kurt Pinthus, Else Lasker-Schüler, Franz Kafka, and Oskar Kokoschka. A century later, it remains one of the most important – and most idiosyncratically Germanic – of all modern artistic movements.

Find out more about GE591

What is sustainability? It has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from 'Our Common Future', also known as the Brundtland Report (1987) which refers to 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' While the concept of sustainability has its roots in the natural sciences, it is becoming evident that theories and practices of sustainability are of relevance in social and cultural studies as much as biophysical relationships.

The module begins with an examination of the wide-ranging definitions of sustainability and of the contribution to the discourse from Humanities subjects. We proceed to analyse a range of case studies representing the four disciplines of Modern Languages in SECL at Kent: French, German, Italian and Hispanic Studies. The case studies highlight cultural practices ranging across time periods and geographies in which sustainable processes are key. They may include the cultural history of sustainability or 'Nachhaltigkeit' in the German context; the Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy; the debate in psychoanalysis on the themes of exploitation/sustainability and competition/cooperation in relation to ecological practices and the environment; the works of Martinique author Patrick Chamoiseau and the challenges to French/Eurocentric concepts of sustainability; and the culture and practice of urban organic farming – organopónicos – that arose out of the economic crisis in Cuba in the 1990s and which have circular economics, cultural development and educational practices at their core.

The module concludes with a consideration of how the case studies illustrate theories and practices of sustainability, and how in turn they may be considered catalysts for further engagement in questions of sustainability

Find out more about SCL505

You have the opportunity to select elective 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.

Compulsory modules currently include

Students either study at a relevant foreign university or work abroad (either as British Council language teaching assistants or in some other approved capacity).

Find out more about LA514

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include

The module develops advanced proficiency in writing, speaking and comprehending German. It concentrates on translation into German and English and the development of analytical skills in the production of written and spoken German. 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.

Find out more about GE503

Optional modules may include

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.

Find out more about CP647

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.

Find out more about CP652

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.

Find out more about CP655

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.Borges, J.L. 'Everything and Nothing’, 'Shakespeare’s Memory’, and ‘The Pattern’.

Find out more about CP656

The module is predicated on independent research activity. It builds on the skills and experiences acquired through stages 1 and 2. Students 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 final-year 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 discuss their and their fellow students' work and to test some of their ideas in a larger context.

Find out more about CP513

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.

Find out more about CP518

The current refugee crisis has brought widespread attention to the precarious situation of the refugee. While representations of refugees and migrants in literary texts can be traced back to antiquity, the current era of globalisation and international conflict has created a sense of urgency, resulting in an abundance of new literary works that are devoted to the figure of the refugee. Focusing on themes including forced displacement, home and hospitality, this module examines literature by and about refugees from as far afield as Lebanon, Iraq, Korea, Palestine and Vietnam.

This module explores the complexities associated with forced migration and refugee populations. It analyses tensions between the global and the local in the age of globalisation and considers whether we might view the current crisis as an articulation of the religious, cultural and racial tensions between East and West. Perhaps most importantly, the module will consider how literature might be an appropriate vehicle for articulating the humanity of those affected. Finally, students will consider the role of the refugee-as-author and question whether and how personal experiences of the authors might affect both narrative form and reader response.

The current crisis has led to the formation of new fields of study. Over the course of the module, students will engage with key theoretical concepts from mobility studies and border studies; they will also be introduced to the emerging field of refugee and forced migration studies, which examines the phenomenon of the refugee from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including anthropology, law, human rights, politics, literature and film.

Find out more about CP666

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).

Find out more about CP502

This module is intended to introduce undergraduate students to independent research and provide the opportunity for sustained, detailed study of a topic of their choosing. The topic chosen must relate to a specific aspect of German culture or language. Originality and feasibility are important aspects of writing dissertations and topics must be scrutinised and approved in advance by the module convenor or dissertation supervisor. Students can expect guidance from the module convenor and an academic supervisor throughout the process, including one-to-one tutorials.

Find out more about GE506

This module explores one of the major contributions of Germanic culture to modernism. Straddling the period immediately before, during, and after the First World War, Expressionism emerged as a reaction against the mechanising forces of modern industrial society, seeking nothing less than a 'renewal of mankind'. With compelling intensity, the Expressionists developed an immediately recognisable style that found an audience across Europe. This module looks at works from a range of genres: from poetry to drama, from prose (both fiction and manifestos) to painting, Expressionism was a key strand of international modernism across the Arts, embracing figures as diverse as Georg Kaiser, Kurt Pinthus, Else Lasker-Schüler, Franz Kafka, and Oskar Kokoschka. A century later, it remains one of the most important – and most idiosyncratically Germanic – of all modern artistic movements.

Find out more about GE592

This module introduces students to the forms and varieties of modern written German through engagement with a wide variety of print and digital media. It explores the similarities and differences between different dimensions of German as it is used today, for example in the media, in teaching and in business. Students taking this module will examine the rhetorical patterns underlying all of these forms of communication, and will thereby improve their own language skills. Emphasis is placed on using a variety of resources (news media, websites, blogs) to build up a thorough awareness of the modern German language in context, and on encouraging students to work together in using up-to-date resources in producing German texts. In particular, the module aims to prepare students for their graduate life and for the uses of written German that will be expected of them on work placements, in their graduate jobs and in the German public sphere.

Find out more about GE594

This module examines a selection of essential texts drawn from the period from 1775 to the first years of the nineteenth century, in which German literature achieved European stature. It looks at innovation and newly emerging confidence in the treatment of the major literary forms (prose fiction, drama, and lyric poetry). But it also studies the currents of violence, passion and madness which these forms were used to convey in an era defined by the iconoclasm of the Sturm und Drang movement and by revolutionary upheaval in France. We will look at the original angry young men of German literature (Werther, Die Räuber), dramas of love and betrayal (Faust), as well as prose fiction which retains its power to shock and puzzle even today (Kleist). The texts studied treat desire, problematic relationships of power and gender, and the crisis of individuals caught up in the painful birth of European modernity.

Find out more about GE585

This module will explore the development of German-language poetry in the 20th century. The methodology will comprise three main strands: the thematic, the stylistic and the politico-historical. Individual poets will be read in terms of what they write, how they write and why they write (ie. the context of historical and political events). The module will introduce students to a range of poetic styles and movements: starting with the fin-de-siècle and Impressionist poetry, the module will move through Expressionism, war poetry, anti-war poetry, holocaust poetry, political poetry of East and West Germany, the poetry of exile and return and contemporary post-Wende poetry, to name but a few of the periods covered.

Find out more about GE572

What is sustainability? It has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from 'Our Common Future', also known as the Brundtland Report (1987) which refers to 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' While the concept of sustainability has its roots in the natural sciences, it is becoming evident that theories and practices of sustainability are of relevance in social and cultural studies as much as biophysical relationships.

The module begins with an examination of the wide-ranging definitions of sustainability and of the contribution to the discourse from Humanities subjects. We proceed to analyse a range of case studies representing the four disciplines of Modern Languages in SECL at Kent: French, German, Italian and Hispanic Studies. The case studies highlight cultural practices ranging across time periods and geographies in which sustainable processes are key. They may include the cultural history of sustainability or 'Nachhaltigkeit' in the German context; the Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy; the debate in psychoanalysis on the themes of exploitation/sustainability and competition/cooperation in relation to ecological practices and the environment; the works of Martinique author Patrick Chamoiseau and the challenges to French/Eurocentric concepts of sustainability; and the culture and practice of urban organic farming – organopónicos – that arose out of the economic crisis in Cuba in the 1990s and which have circular economics, cultural development and educational practices at their core.

The module concludes with a consideration of how the case studies illustrate theories and practices of sustainability, and how in turn they may be considered catalysts for further engagement in questions of sustainability

Find out more about SCL505

This module is aimed at those students who would like to follow a career as Primary or Secondary School teachers, but is also suitable to those who would like to consider a career in HE language teaching by providing them with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Languages in the primary and secondary school context as well as in HE.

Find out more about SCL502

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £9250
  • International full-time £16200

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £9,250.

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

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

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

Additional costs

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. 

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.

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.

German

Teaching is by a combination of lectures and seminars. You have regular teaching and conversation sessions with German native speakers.

Assessment at Stage 1 is by 100% coursework (essays, class participation) in the first half of the year, and a 50:50 combination of coursework and examination in the second half of the year. At Stage 2/3, depending on the modules you select, assessment varies from 100% coursework (extended essays or dissertation), to a combination of examination and coursework, in a ratio that will normally be 50:50, 70:30.

Contact Hours

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.

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:

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

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.

Independent rankings

100% of Comparative Literature graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations were in work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).

German at Kent scored 92% overall in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Careers

Studying Comparative Literature and German 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.

Students of German have successfully completed work placements at a variety of different companies, including international giants such as Siemens and Bosch.  Not only do such well-known names look great on a CV, but the fact that you were using your language skills every day also makes this work experience even more impressive for employers in the UK, Europe and further afield. Students have also undertaken internships in:

  • The Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen in Mainz
  • A translation agency in Berlin
  • An oil company in Munich
  • The German Bundestag (parliament).

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.

Apply for Comparative Literature and German with a Year Abroad - BA (Hons)

Full-time study through Clearing

The Start now button below takes you to Kent's short form, which you need to fill in and submit. We'll review your application and let you know if we can offer you a place. If you wish to accept our offer, you need to confirm this via UCAS Track. To do so, you'll need the following:

  • Your UCAS Track login details
  • UCAS code RQ22
  • Institution ID K24
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E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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