Course Offerings in Comparative Literature

See ConnectCarolina for the most accurate list of current Comparative Literature courses.

Please see the full course listings in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Undergradute CMPL Courses

55 First-Year Seminar: Comics as Literature (3). Comic books, Manga, and the graphic novel have almost vanished from the realm of serious literature. Recently, graphic literature has addressed controversial topics and reached readers across the globe. We will explore graphic literature’s unique ability to be a medium for the marginal and oppressed in the 21st century.

89 First-Year Seminar: Special Topics (3). Specials topics course. Content will vary each semester.

120 Great Books I: Epic and Lyric Traditions (3). Major works of literature central to the formation of Western culture from antiquity to 1750. Considers epic, lyric, drama, and prose; core authors such as Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton.

121 Great Books I: Romancing the World (3). This course focuses on the literary mode of romance, with particular attention to cross-cultural contact and exchange from classical antiquity to the present in both European and non-European literature.

122 Great Books I: Visual Arts and Literature from Antiquity to 1750 (3). This course offers students a survey of mutually supportive developments of literature and the visual arts from classical antiquity until around 1700.

123 Great Books I: Politics and Literature from Antiquity to 1750 (3). This course examines comparative literary texts in literature and political philosophy in the context of developments in political thought and practice from classical Greece through the French Revolution.

124 Great Books I: Science and Literature from Antiquity to 1750 (3). This course examines developments in literary and scientific thought, including the literary depiction of the disciplines of natural philosophy, including magic, cosmology, natural history, and physiology.

130 Great Books II (3). An introduction to some of the major texts of 19th- and 20th-century literature, focusing on periods of romanticism, realism, and modernism and with some attention given to parallel developments in the arts and philosophy.

131 Great Books II: Savage, Native, Stranger, Other (3). Using readings in literature and philosophy, as well as film screenings, this course explores comparative literature’s reconciliation over time of its own, predominantly Western, lineage with other non-Western textual traditions.

132 Great Books II: Performance and Cultural Identity in the African Diaspora (3). The focus of this course is inquiry into how we theorize the existence of the African Diaspora, cultural identity/-ies, and the role that performance plays in the articulation of experiences.

133 Great Books II: Imaging the Americas from the Late 18th Century to the Present (3). This course studies the intersection between word and image, especially verbal and photographic cultural production, in the representation of the Americas in the hemispheric sense from the mid-18th century to present.

134 Great Books II: Travel and Identity (3). Introduces students to representative literary and intellectual texts from 1750 to the present and to relevant techniques of literary analysis. Works originally written in foreign languages are studied in translation.

143 Introduction to Global Cinema (3). This course is designed to introduce students to the field of global cinema and, thence, to the methods of comparativist film study.

198H Literature in Eastern Europe (3). An introduction to the literatures of eastern Europe, including consideration of political influences on literary creation within different cultural traditions.

220 Global Authors: Jane Austen (3). This course examines the fiction of Jane Austen and her literary and cultural influence across the globe. We will see echoes of Austen in novels and films from around the world and explore how her work transcends generational, cultural, and geographical boundaries. What is the secret of her global appeal?

223 Global Authors: Cervantes (3). Close study of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, its reception and impact on varied works of world literature.

225 Global Authors: The Worlds of Shakespeare (3). Recommended preparation, ENGL 225 or familiarity with at least four Shakespeare plays. Explores the afterlife of Shakespeare’s plays from a transnational and multidisciplinary perspective, paying attention to the ways in which several of his plays have been dislocated and reconstituted for different audiences and different artistic and political aims.

227 Global Authors: The Middle Ages in World Cinema (3). Traces major points of convergence among the thematic concerns of medieval literature, global cinema, and academic constructions of “the Middle Ages.” Considers the aesthetic and technological development of film and of medieval painting, sculpture, and dramatic performance.

230 Global Crusoe: The Desert-Island Idea in Film and Fiction (3). The desert-island scenario involves a sophisticated and culturally central thought experiment in which the constraints of history and society are suspended and human nature is exposed in its essence. This course considers the permutations of this scenario in film and fiction from around the world.

250 Approaches to Comparative Literature (3). This communications-intensive course familiarizes students with the theory and practice of comparative literature: the history of literary theory; translation; and literature combined with disciplines such as music, architecture, and philosophy.

251 Introduction to Literary Theory (3). Familiarizes students with the theory and practice of comparative literature. Against a background of classical poetics and rhetoric, explores various modern literary theories, including Russian formalism, Frankfurt School, feminism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, new historicism, and others. All reading in theory is paired with that of literary texts drawn from a wide range of literary periods and national traditions.

252 Popular Culture in Modern Southeast Asia (ASIA 252) (3). See ASIA 252 for description.

254 Horror and the Global Gothic: Film, Literature, Theory (3). This course traces the development of horror in film and writing from the 18th-century European novel to contemporary Asian film. Theoretical readings will embrace a range of disciplines, from literary and film theory to anthropology, feminism and gender studies, and psychoanalysis.

255 The Feast in Film, Fiction, and Philosophy (3). Comparative and interdisciplinary study of feasting and its philosophical underpinnings, with special attention to the multiple purposes and nuances of food and feasting in literature, film, and the visual arts.

257 The Crisis of Modernity in World Cinema (3). This course surveys world cinema in the attempt to identify the disjunctions that sever past and present. This course will ask the most basic questions: What is the nature of modernity? What are the challenges of modernity? How does the modern experience differ across the globe?

260 Landscape in Literature and the Arts: Re-Imagining the Natural World (3). Explores how human interaction with the natural world is represented in the literary, visual, and performing arts from Roman fresco to the ecological art and fiction of the 21st century. Students conduct mentored research at Ackland Art Museum with peer and faculty feedback at every stage.

270 German Culture and the Jewish Question (GERM 270, JWST 239, RELI 239) (3). See GERM 270 for description.

275 Literature of Pilgrimage (3). Analyzes literature of pilgrimage, a literal or figurative journey of transformation, from a variety of times and cultures from classical antiquity to the present, including such works as Apuleius’ Golden Ass, Cervantes’ Persiles, and Basho’s Narrow Road to the Deep North.

277 Myth, Fable, Novella: The Long History of the Short Story (3). Traces the development of European short fiction from the 12th through the 17th centuries, taking brief looks backward toward the ancient world and forward to the modern short story.

279 Once upon a FairyTale: Fairy Tales and Childhood, Then and Now (GERM 279) (3). See GERM 279 for description.

280 Film Genres (3). This course introduces students to the methods of genre theory and analysis as they pertain to cinema. The course may either provide a survey of several different genres or examine a particular genre in depth as it has evolved historically. National and/or transnational dimensions of popular genres may be emphasized.

281 Holocaust Cinema in Eastern Europe (3). A critical look at varieties of cinematic representation and memorialization of the Holocaust, from those countries of Europe where it mostly took place. All films in (or subtitled in) English.

282 Russian Literature in World Cinema (3). Survey of masterpieces of Russian literature in the context of their cinematic adaptations.

321 Medieval and Modern Arthurian Romance (ENGL 321) (3). See ENGL 321 for description.

332H Cultural Identities in European Cinema (EURO 332H, FREN 332H) (3). See FREN 332H for description.

364 The Classical Background of English Literature (CLAS 364) (3). See CLAS 364 for description.

374 Modern Women Writers (WMST 373) (3). The development of a women’s literary tradition in the works of such writers as George Sand, George Eliot, Isak Dinesen, Colette, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Marguerite Duras, Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Yourcenar.

375 New Wave Cinema: Its Sources and Its Legacies (3). The challenge the New Wave presented to postwar cinema by pointing to Hollywood and other European films; the New Wave’s influence on United States and European cinema beginning in the 1970s. Taught in English.

379 Cowboys, Samurai, and Rebels in Film and Fiction (ASIA 379) (3). Cross-cultural definitions of heroism, individualism, and authority in film and fiction, with emphasis on tales or images that have been translated across cultures. Includes films of Ford, Kurosawa, and Visconti.

380 Almost Despicable Heroines in Japanese and Western Literature (ASIA 380, WMST 380) (3). Authors’ use of narrative techniques to create the separation between heroines and their fictional societies and sometimes also to alienate readers from the heroines. Austen, Flaubert, Ibsen, Arishima, Tanizaki, Abe.

382 Film and Nature (3). Examines the complex aesthetic relationship between cinema and nature through a range of different genres, traditions, and theoretical frameworks. Films in which natural landscape, animals, and/or plant life receive special attention may be addressed. Thinkers as disparate as Kant, Thoreau, and recent proponents of eco-critical perspectives may be deployed.

383 Literature and Medicine (3). Examines the presentation of medical practice in literature from the mid-19th century to the present. Readings include some medical history, novels, stories, and recent autobiographies of medical training.

385 Modernist and Postmodernist Narrative (3). A study of the structure of various types of modernist and postmodernist narrative, including texts by such writers as Proust, Faulkner, Camus, Hesse, Duras, Mann, Woolf, Robbe-Grillet, Kundera, Simon.

386 Adolescence in 20th- and 21st-Century Literature (3). Literary portrayal of adolescence in times of cultural upheaval. Although adolescence is often considered a transitional period from carefree childhood to responsible adulthood, we focus on works that explore adolescence primarily as a creative quest for a more meaningful way of life than the one bequeathed by the previous generation.

390 Special Topics in Comparative Literature (3). Course topics vary from semester to semester.

411 Critical Theory (3). Overview of those realms of modern and contemporary thought and writing that are known as, and closely associated with, “critical theory.”

420 Film, Photography, and the Digital Image (3). This course examines the shifting nature of the cinematic medium in relation to both traditional photography and newer digital forms of image production. The aesthetic, ethical, and ontological aspects of cinema are explored in light of emergent technological and cultural conditions that demand a full-scale reconsideration of cinema’s specificity.

435 Consciousness and Symbols (ANTH 435, FOLK 435) (3). See ANTH 435 for description.

450 Major Works of 20th-Century Literary Theory (3). Comparative study of representative works on literary and cultural theory or applied criticism to be announced in advance.

452 The Middle Ages (3). Study of selected examples of Western medieval literature in translation, with particular attention to the development of varieties of sensibility in various genres and at different periods.

453 The Erotic Middle Ages (3). Readings of major works of medieval European literature in translation from the 12th to 15th centuries, focusing on topics such as courtship, marriage, adultery, homoeroticism, domestic violence, mystical visions, and prostitution.

454 Literature of the Continental Renaissance in Translation (3). Discussion of the major works of Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Castiglione, Ariosto, Tasso, Rabelais, Ronsard, Montaigne, Cervantes, and Erasmus.

456 The 18th-Century Novel (3). English, French, and German 18th-century narrative fiction with emphasis on the epistolary novel. The relation of the novel to the Enlightenment and its counterpart, the cult of sentimentality, and on shifting paradigms for family education, gender, and erotic desire.

458 Sense, Sensibility, Sensuality, 1740–1810 (3). The development of the moral aesthetic of sensibility or Empfindsamkeit in literature of western Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

460 Romanticism (3). An exploration of the period concept of Romanticism, using selected literary works by such writers as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Goethe, Novalis, Schlegel, Hugo, Nerval, Chateaubriand.

462 Realism (3). An exploration of the period concept of Realism through selected works by such writers as George Eliot, Dickens, James, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Balzac, Stendhal, Flaubert, Zola.

463 Cinema and Surrealism (3). This course examines surrealism as an inter-art development between the First and Second World Wars. Taking a comparativist view, it focuses mainly on cinema but explores surrealist literature, painting, and sculpture as well. Much of the course traces the continuing relevance of surrealist practices in contemporary cinema.

464 Naturalism (3). The Naturalist movement in European and American literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, focusing on its philosophical, psychological, and literary manifestations in selected plays and novels.

466 Modernism (3). An exploration of the period concept of modernism in European literature, with attention to central works in poetry, narrative, and drama, and including parallel developments in the visual arts.

468 Aestheticism (3). Aestheticism as a discrete 19th-century movement and as a major facet of modernism in literature and literary theory. Authors include Kierkegaard, Baudelaire, Nietzche, Huysmans, Wilde, Mann, Rilke, Nabokov, Dinesen, Barthes, Sontag.

469 Milan Kundera and World Literature (3). This course traces Milan Kundera’s literary path from his communist poetic youth to his present postmodern Francophilia. His work will be compared with those authors he considers his predecessors and influences in European literature. Taught in English. Some readings in Czech for qualified students.

470 Concepts and Perspectives of the Tragic (3). History and theory of tragedy as a distinctive literary genre and as a more general literary and cultural problem. Authors include Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Racine, Goethe, Nietzsche, Wagner, Mann, Samuel I and II, Faulkner. Also engages theorists, ancient and modern.

471 Classical Rhetoric and Modern Theory (3). Explores how the theory and practice of classical, medieval, and early modern rhetoric continue to challenge and stimulate contemporary theory. Two-thirds of the course examines texts written before 1750.

472 The Drama from Ibsen to Beckett (3). The main currents of European drama from the end of the 19th century to the present. Includes Chekhov, Strindberg, Pirandello, Lorca, Brecht, Anouilh.

473 Drama, Pageantry, and Spectacle in Medieval Europe (3). An exploration of different expressions of medieval drama and pagentry, including plays, tournaments, public executions, and religious processions.

478 The Medieval Frame Tale: Chaucer, Boccaccio, and the ARABIAN NIGHTS (3).A comparative study of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio’s Decameron, and the earliest known version of The Arabian Nights. Knowledge of Middle English desirable, but students with no experience in the language will be able to attend tutorial sessions early in the semester.

481 Rhetoric of Silence: Cross-Cultural Theme and Technique (ASIA 481) (3). The uses of literary silence for purposes such as protest, civility, joy, oppression, nihilism, awe, or crisis of representation. Authors include Sterne, Goethe, Austen, Kawabata, Soseki, Oe, Toson, Camus, Mann.

482 Philosophy in Literature (PHIL 482) (3). See PHIL 482 for description.

483 Cross-Currents in East-West Literature (ASIA 483) (3). The study of the influence of Western texts upon Japanese authors and the influence of conceptions of “the East” upon Western writers. Goldsmith, Voltaire, Soseki, Sterne, Arishima, Ibsen, Yoshimoto, Ishiguro.

485 Approaches to 20th-Century Narrative (3). An examination of central trends in 20th-century narrative.

486 Literary Landscapes in Europe and Japan (ASIA 486) (3). Changing understandings of nature across time and cultures, especially with regard to its human manipulation and as portrayed in novels of Japan and Europe. Rousseau, Goethe, Austen, Abe, Mishima.

487 Literature and the Arts of Love (3). Love and sexuality in literary works from various historical periods and genres. Authors include Sappho, Plato, Catullus, Propertius, Ovid, Dante, Petrarch, Shakespeare, LaClos, Goethe, Nabokov, and Roland Barthes.

490 Special Topics (3). Topics vary from semester to semester.

492 The Fourth Dimension: Art and the Fictions of Hyperspace (3). An exploration of the concept of the fourth dimension, its origins in non-Euclidean geometry, its development in popular culture, and its impact on the visual arts, film, and literature.

494 Cinematic Uses of the Essay Form (3). Examines aesthetic, political, and philosophical aspects of essay films in international cinema. Focusing on works by figures such as Chris Marker, Orson Welles, Harun Farocki, Alexander Kluge, Guy Debord, and Jean-Luc Godard, the course traces the genre’s literary roots and addresses how the essay deviates from more traditional documentary forms.

496 Reading Course (3). Readings vary from semester to semester. The course is generally offered for three credits.

558 The Lives and Times of Medieval Corpses (3). An investigation of the social, political, and literary uses of corpses in the Middle Ages.

560 Reading Other Cultures: Issues in Literary Translation (SLAV 560) (3). See SLAV 560 for description.

621 Arthurian Romance (ENGL 621) (3). See ENGL 621 for description.

622 Medieval Cosmopolitanisms (3). An examination of medieval engagements with the foreign and the extent to which those engagements challenged conventional ways of thinking about the world.

624 The Baroque (3). Required preparation, one course from CMPL 120–129. Analysis of the Baroque as an aesthetic movement, including major, representative literary works, comparisons of literature and the visual arts, and the study of theories of the Baroque and Neo-Baroque. Authors studied may include Tasso, Racine, Cervantes, and Shakespeare, among others.

685 Literature of the Americas (AMST 685, ENGL 685) (3). See ENGL 685 for description.

691H Comparative Literature Senior Honors Thesis Part I (3). Required of all students reading for honors in comparative literature.

692H Comparative Literature Senior Honors Thesis Part II (3). Prerequisite, CMPL 691H. Required of all students reading for honors in comparative literature.

697 Senior Seminar (3). This seminar allows comparative literature majors to work on an independent project to synthesize their curricular experience, and it introduces them to current, broadly applicable issues in comparative literature.