Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

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

UCAS code RQ22

2019

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.

Overview

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.

We also offer you the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad in Germany or Austria, where you can hone your language skills and experience a different culture as well as different approaches to the study of literature first hand.

Studying on this joint honours, you gain expertise in a specific national tradition, making you able to compare the works of German authors to other European ones, and so benefitting from an 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.

German at Kent was ranked 3rd for teaching quality in The Times Good University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2017, over 93% of final-year German students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. German at Kent was ranked 1st for the quality of teaching.

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, nineteenth-century literary fairytales, 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.

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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.

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30

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.

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30

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.

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15

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.

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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.

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15

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.

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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.

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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 (Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain and Mexico) 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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15

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).

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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.

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15

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.

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15

How is literature playful, and how does literary playfulness relate to the experience of play that is embedded in everyday life and across different cultures? By considering comparatively a broad selection of literary texts ranging from antiquity to contemporary times, we examine diverse themes and strategies relating to play. These include the humorous and ironic eroticism in Ovid's ars amatoria, masquerade and transvestism in Chinese poetry, language games and 'nonsense' writing in Lewis Carroll, Dada collages and Surrealist automatic writing, postwar Oulipo writers' formal experimentation, the integration of games such as chess and riddles in literary creation, and contemporary digital texts and conceptual artworks that provide a gaming experience to their audience. We will read these texts with specific questions about ludic writing techniques and the reader's experience of ludic literature in mind.

Throughout the module we will consider different notions and forms of play: as the negation of work, free and spontaneous action, technical games with rules, ritualistic spectacle, theatrical role-playing, or a mode of aesthetic experience. Drawing upon key theories about play and games offered by thinkers such as Huizinga, Caillois, and Bateson to articulate the different aspects of playful literature, we will also explore how the question of play provides a conceptual framework for comparison across different cultures and historical periods. Students will also gain insight into contemporary debates about playful participatory modes of literary production, gaming culture, and the exercise of one's creativity and imagination when navigating through a plethora of information and resources in daily life.

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This is an intermediate level module. Its aims are to strengthen and widen the linguistic knowledge provided in GRMN3010, 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.

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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 GE329, 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).

The 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.

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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.

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15

Students will learn to analyse literary texts and respond critically to a challenging body of work, with a particular emphasis on commentaries and close reading. Both their linguistic and their analytical skills will be developed through sustained exposure to a representative cross-section of one of the key genres in German literature, the Novella. The module will trace the emergence of the short prose narrative around 1800 and examine its adaptation during the nineteenth century, when realism asserted itself and became the subject of critical controversy. It will look at the major writers of the period to see what scope the development of realism offered them for artistic variation and psychological depth. Their works will be studied as reflections of the societies and regions to which they belonged and as indications of the profound political and economic changes occurring during the period.

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Each extended essay will require a different programme of study, depending on the topic (chosen by the student in close consultation with the supervisor). Typically, the work will be divided into three periods: (1) gathering information and identifying the essay's exact focus, (2) writing up individual chapters and discussing these with a supervisor, and (3) putting the extended essay into its final form and observing the conventions necessary for this type of work.

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15

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.

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This module focuses on the recent history of Vienna and Berlin, the cultural capitals of the German-speaking world. Many of the key events and movements that influenced Europe over the past century are intimately linked to these two cities, from the collapse of the Habsburg Empire, the development of extremist left- and right-wing parties in the interwar period to the division and re-uniting of Europe as embodied by the Berlin Wall. Changes and continuities in the political, social and physical topography of Vienna and Berlin will be traced by studying representations of both cities in a range of texts and films from the early twentieth to the early twenty-first century. Alongside feature films and prose genres such as short stories and reportage, the module will also consider theoretical texts on the city and the contribution of urban life to modern German-language culture. Central themes are the interplay of individual and collective, urban anonymity and liberation versus alienation and uniformity, multiculturalism and migration.

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15

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 mechanizing forces of modern industrial society, seeking nothing less than a 'renewal of mankind'. With compelling intensity, the Expressionists developed an immediately recognizable 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.

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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.

Modules may include Credits

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

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Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

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.

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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.

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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)

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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 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 Colonial and Postcolonial studies.

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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.

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

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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 combine an academic course with work experience. Placements in a school environment will enhance the students' employment opportunities as they will acquire a range of skills. It will also provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Comparative Literature and English Language & Linguistics in the primary or secondary school context. The university sessions and weekly school work will complement each other. At the university sessions students will benefit from the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance.

Students will spend one half-day per week for ten weeks in a school where each student will have a designated teacher-mentor who will guide their work in school. They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers' tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, it is expected that their role will be to some extent 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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Each dissertation will require a different programme of study. Typically, the year will be divided into three periods: (1) gathering information, (2) writing-up individual chapters and discussing these with a supervisor, and (3) putting the dissertation into its final form and observing the conventions necessary for this type of work.

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30

Students will learn to analyse literary texts and respond critically to a challenging body of work, with a particular emphasis on commentaries and close reading. Both their linguistic and their analytical skills will be developed through sustained exposure to a representative cross-section of one of the key genres in German literature, the Novella. The module will trace the emergence of the short prose narrative around 1800 and examine its adaptation during the nineteenth century, when realism asserted itself and became the subject of critical controversy. It will look at the major writers of the period to see what scope the development of realism offered them for artistic variation and psychological depth. Their works will be studied as reflections of the societies and regions to which they belonged and as indications of the profound political and economic changes occurring during the period.

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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.

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15

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 mechanizing forces of modern industrial society, seeking nothing less than a 'renewal of mankind'. With compelling intensity, the Expressionists developed an immediately recognizable 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.

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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.

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This module focuses on the recent history of Vienna and Berlin, the cultural capitals of the German-speaking world. Many of the key events and movements that influenced Europe over the past century are intimately linked to these two cities, from the collapse of the Habsburg Empire, the development of extremist left- and right-wing parties in the interwar period to the division and re-uniting of Europe as embodied by the Berlin Wall. Changes and continuities in the political, social and physical topography of Vienna and Berlin will be traced by studying representations of both cities in a range of texts and films from the early twentieth to the early twenty-first century. Alongside feature films and prose genres such as short stories and reportage, the module will also consider theoretical texts on the city and the contribution of urban life to modern German-language culture. Central themes are the interplay of individual and collective, urban anonymity and liberation versus alienation and uniformity, multiculturalism and migration.

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15

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.

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15

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 combine an academic course with work experience. Placements in a school environment will enhance the students' employment opportunities as they will acquire a range of skills. It will also provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Languages in the primary or secondary school context. The university sessions and weekly school work will complement each other. At the university sessions students will benefit from the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance.

Students will spend one half-day per week for ten weeks in a school where each student will have a designated teacher-mentor who will guide their work in school. They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers' tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, it is expected that their role will be to some extent 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
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.

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.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • promote the study of literature within a strong multidisciplinary and modular context
  • widen participation within by offering a wide variety of study routes
  • produce graduates with a good knowledge of a comprehensive range of important and seminal literary works from across Europe and beyond, from the Classics to the present day
  • teach students the comparatist approach to literary studies
  • give students the knowledge to be able to approach any text in a critical and analytical manner
  • produce self-motivating, intellectually independent graduates
  • give students the skills and abilities generic to study in the humanities
  • provide a basis for the study of literature and related disciplines at a higher level
  • give students the opportunity to develop more general skills and competences so that they can respond positively to the challenges of the workplace or of postgraduate education.
  • e variety of study routes;
  • Produce graduates with a good knowledge of a comprehensive range of important and seminal literary works from across Europe and beyond, from the Classics to the present day;
  • Produce graduates familiar with the comparatist approach to literary studies;
  • Produce graduates able to approach any text in a critical and analytical manner;
  • Produce intellectually independent graduates able to work in a self-motivating manner;
  • Produce graduates equipped with skills and abilities generic to study in the humanities;
  • Provide a basis for the study of literature and related disciplines at a higher level;
  • Provide students with the opportunity to develop more general skills and competences so that they can respond positively to the challenges of the workplace or of postgraduate education.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • a wide range of authors and texts from different periods and different cultures, from Ancient Greece to the present day
  • the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, transmitted and read
  • concepts such as ‘genre’, ‘theme’ or ‘literary movement’
  • the problems inherent in interpreting ‘the translated text’
  • traditions in literary criticism
  • critical theory and its applications, understood within its historical contexts
  • the study of literature in its relation to other disciplines.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • to listen to and absorb the oral transmission of complicated data
  • careful reading of literary works and theoretical material
  • reflect clearly and critically on oral and written sources, using power of analysis and imagination
  • to marshall a complex body of information
  • remember relevant material and recall it when needed
  • construct cogent arguments
  • formulate independent ideas and defend them in a plausible manner
  • present arguments in written form in a time-limited context (examinations).

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • enhanced skills in the close critical analysis of literary texts
  • informed critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of literature
  • the ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to literary studies
  • sensitivity to generic conventions in the study of literature and the problems of translation and cultural difference
  • well-developed language use and awareness, including a grasp of standard critical terminology
  • articulate responsiveness to literary language
  • appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work, in particular in bibliographic and annotational
  • understanding how cultural norms, assumptions and practices influence questions of judgement
  • appreciation of the value of collaborative intellectual work in developing critical judgement.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • teaching and learning methods for effective communication: producing focused and cogent written presentations, summarise information and assess arguments, give oral presentations, using visual aids where appropriate
  • problem-solving, identifying problems, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different solutions, defending the preferred solutions with cogent arguments
  • improving your learning, identifying your strengths and weaknesses, assessing the quality of your own work, managing your time and meeting deadlines, learning to work independently
  • working with others, participating in seminar discussions, responding to the views of others and to criticisms of your own views without giving or taking offence, engaging in independent group work, including the preparation of group presentations
  • IT abilities including word-processing essays, using on-line information sources and communicating via email.

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.

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 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.

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 2019/20 tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, 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.