The programme allows you to study two or more literatures comparatively, either by choosing a comparative special subject or subjects in different languages. The languages are:
Celtic | English* | French | German | Byzantine & Modern Greek | Italian | Portuguese | Russian | Spanish
* Courses that may be taken in the Faculty of English are normally those shown under List C (Special Options) in the course handbook. Participation is restricted and by prior approval.
In 1827, Goethe stated provocatively that ‘National literature has become rather meaningless. The time has come for world literature.’ This view may seem particularly pertinent today, in an age of globalisation. Yet there is little sign that literature is becoming homogenised. Our limited linguistic competence and our specific cultural identities entail that we are generally most familiar with the literature of our own culture, and that other literatures are ‘foreign’. The historical events and developments that help to shape literature will differ between nations, and each literature has its own major authors and texts acting as models to be emulated or refuted. This does not mean that literature is constrained by national or cultural boundaries. Writers and readers move between literatures and bring them into play with each other, and the classical canon has given the European vernacular literatures a common basis. Translation and adaptation provide modes of creative transfer, and literature has always thrived on diversity of cultures and places. By studying literature comparatively, you will develop an enhanced awareness of the complexity of literary communication and develop your cultural imagination.
A degree-level knowledge of at least one European language plus English is a requirement for admission to this programme.