A central hub for WLL faculty and students, the program in Comparative Literature is designed for students whose interest in literature extends beyond the borders of a single national literary tradition or language.

Comparative Literature majors learn to read literature in one or more foreign languages and trace the transformations and travels of literary genres and texts across time and space. They explore the connections of literature with history, philosophy, politics, and literary theory. And they learn how literature intersects with other cultural forms such as film, drama, the visual arts, music, and new media. The practice and theory of translation are also an important part of the comparative approach to literature.

At the core of the program in Comparative Literature are the XL220-series of courses on the Western, East Asian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern literary traditions in comparative perspective. These courses introduce students to the global diversity of literary forms and genres, and to the methods of comparative literary study. In consultation with advisors, students majoring in Comparative Literature put together a program of study that best suits their interests and goals. This will include advanced work in at least one foreign language and its literature and a series of interrelated courses of the student’s choice. Comparative Literature majors begin with XL 100 Leaving Home, which introduces major works of world literature and WLL faculty working on various cultures and literatures from around the globe.

A major or minor in Comparative Literature students to work in any field that calls for critical thinking, strong writing skills and foreign-language competence and a sophisticated understanding of cultural difference and diversity in our globalizing world.

A complete list of Comparative Literature courses is available on the CAS Bulletin or on our all courses webpage.


Comparative Literature Degree Programs

Fall 2021 Course List