COMPARATIVE LITERATURE (Div. I)

Chair, Professor GAIL M. NEWMAN

Professors: CASSIDAY, DRUXES, GOLDSTEIN, B. KIEFFER, KLEINER*, LIMON**, NEWMAN, ROUHI, SWANN. Associate Professors: KAGAYA. Assistant Professors: C. BOLTON*, S. FOX, FRENCH, MARTIN, NUGENT, PIEPRZAK*, VAN DE STADT, VARGAS.

Students motivated by a desire to study literature in the broadest terms, as well as those interested in particular examples of literary comparison, will find an intellectual home in the Program in Comparative Literature. The Program in Comparative Literature gives students the opportunity to develop their critical faculties through the analysis of literature in its international and multicultural context. By crossing national, linguistic, historical, and disciplinary boundaries, students of Comparative Literature learn to read texts for the ways they make meaning, the assumptions that underlie that meaning, and the aesthetic elements evinced in the making. Students of Comparative Literature are encouraged to examine the widest possible range of literary communication, including the metamorphosis of genres, forms, and themes.

Whereas specific literature programs allow the student to trace the development of one literature in a particular culture over a period of time, Comparative Literature juxtaposes the writings of different cultures and epochs in a variety of ways. The rubrics of the Program's core courses-Literary Genres, Literary Movements, Literature and Theory, and Cultural Studies-introduce the student to a variety of critical methods. Because interpretive methods from other disciplines play a crucial role in investigating literature's larger context, the Program offers courses intended for students in all divisions of the college and of all interests. These include courses that introduce students to the comparative study of world literature and courses designed to enhance any foreign language major in the Williams curriculum. In addition, the English Department allows students to count one course with a COMP prefix as an elective within the English major.

The Program supports two distinct majors in Comparative Literature and Literary Studies. The major in Comparative Literature requires advanced work in at least one language other than English and is strongly recommended for students contemplating graduate study in the discipline. Both majors provide a strong basis for any career demanding analytical, interpretive, and evaluative skills and allow the student, within a framework of general requirements, to create a program of study primarily shaped by the student's own interests.

MAJORS

Comparative Literature

The Comparative Literature major combines the focused study of a single national-language literature with a wide-ranging exploration of literary forms across national, linguistic, and historical boundaries. Each student declaring the major must select a single foreign language as his or her specialty, although the serious study of literature in foreign languages other than the student's specialty is strongly encouraged. The languages currently available are French, German, Ancient Greek, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Each student will also be paired with a faculty advisor with whom the student will meet each semester to discuss how best to fulfill the requirements for the major.

Eleven courses are required for the major:

Comparative Literature 111 The Nature of Narrative (Literary Genres)

Any three comparative literature core courses. A core course is any course that meets the following criteria: a) it must treat primarily literature and b) it must be genuinely comparative across cultures and/or primarily theoretical. The three core courses may be chosen from the offerings of the Program in Comparative Literature (frequently offered examples include Comparative Literature 232, European Modernism, and Comparative Literature 340, Literature and Psychoanalysis) or from the offerings of other departments and programs, including the foreign language programs and English, Religion, Africana Studies, and Latino/Latina Studies.

Three literature courses in the student's specialty language, in which texts are read in the original. At least one of the three must be above the 200-level.

Three courses in which most of the course work concerns literature other than that of the student's specialty language or literary theory. These courses may be selected from Comparative Literature offerings or from other departments and must be approved by the student's major advisor. Only one may be in English or American literature. Among the offerings of other departments that are possible, the following employ readings in English translation and are especially appropriate to the major:

English 117, 126, 202, 216, 219, 220, 341, 342, 345, 361, 371, 372

Linguistics 101, 121

Religion 210, 401

Theatre 210, 211, 330, 331

Comparative Literature 402 Senior Seminar (variable topics)

Students who are considering a major in Comparative Literature should aim to acquire intermediate- level proficiency in their specialty language by the end of the sophomore year. They should also complete core course requirements by the end of their junior year. Students pursuing the Comparative Literature major are strongly encouraged to study abroad during their junior year and may receive major credit for up to 4 courses taken during study abroad. At least three courses towards the major must be at the 300 level or above. Students are expected to take the version of 402 offered in their senior year, even if they have previously taken 402.

Literary Studies

The Literary Studies major allows for a wide-ranging exploration of literary forms across national, linguistic, and historical boundaries. Unlike the major in Comparative Literature, the Literary Studies major does not require the student to choose a specialty language, although the serious study of literature in one or more foreign languages is strongly encouraged. Each student will be paired with a faculty advisor, with whom the student will meet each semester to discuss how best to fulfill the requirements for the major.

Eleven courses are required for the major:

Comparative Literature 111 The Nature of Narrative (Literary Genres)

Any four comparative literature core courses. A core course is any course that meets the following criteria: a) it must treat primarily literature and b) it must be genuinely comparative across cultures and/or primarily theoretical. The three core courses may be chosen from the offerings of the Program in Comparative Literature (frequently offered examples include Comparative Literature 232, European Modernism, and Comparative Literature 340, Literature and Psychoanalysis) or from the offerings of other departments and programs, including the foreign language programs and English, Religion, Africana Studies, and Latino/Latina Studies.

Five courses devoted to literature or literary theory that cover at least three different national/cultural traditions. The courses may be selected from Comparative Literature offerings or from other departments and must be approved by the student's major advisor. Of the courses taken outside of the Program in Comparative Literature, no more than two may have the same course prefix. Students are strongly encouraged to include courses in a foreign language among these five. Among the offerings of other departments that are possible, the following employ readings in English translation and are especially appropriate to the major:

English 117, 126, 202, 216, 219, 220, 341, 342, 345, 372

Linguistics 101, 121

Religion 210, 401T

Theatre 210, 211, 330, 331

Comparative Literature 402 Senior Seminar (variable topics)

Students who are considering a major in Literary Studies should aim to complete core course requirements by the end of their sophomore year. Students who choose to study abroad during their junior year may receive major credit for up to 4 courses taken during study abroad. At least three courses towards the major must be at the 300 level or above. Students are expected to take the version of 402 offered in their senior year, even if they have previously taken 402.

THE DEGREE WITH HONORS IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE OR LITERARY STUDIES

Prerequisites

Honors candidates in Comparative Literature or Literary Studies are required to have maintained a GPA of 3.5 in the major to qualify for submitting a thesis proposal. In addition, candidates must demonstrate a strong interest in a specific topic for which an appropriate faculty advisor will be available in the senior year.

Timing

Students wishing to pursue a thesis in Comparative Literature or Literary Studies are strongly urged to secure an advisor by the end of the week after Spring Break in their junior year. By May 15th of their junior year, candidates must submit to the Program Advisory Committee a one- to two-page proposal and a preliminary bibliography. The Advisory Committee will inform candidates by June 1 whether they may proceed with the thesis and advise them about any changes that should be made in the focus or scope of the project. The summer before the senior year will be spent compiling a more detailed bibliography and preparing for the process of writing the thesis.

In their senior year, candidates will devote two semesters and the winter study period to their theses (493-W31-494). By the end of the Fall semester, students will normally have undertaken substantial research and produced the draft of at least the first half of the project. At this point students should also have a clear sense of the work remaining for completion of the thesis. In the course of the Fall semester, students will also have chosen and met with a second reader for the project, who will provide additional guidance and read the final thesis. By the end of Winter Study, students should have completed a draft of the entire project. At that time, the Comparative Literature Advisory Committee, together with the advisor, will determine whether the project may continue as an Honors Thesis, or whether its first portions (COMP 493-W) will be graded as Independent Studies.

The second semester of independent thesis work will be spent revising as necessary. The completed thesis in its final form will be due one week before the last day of classes. At the end of the Spring term, the student will make a public presentation of the final project, to which members of the Advisory Committee will be specially invited.

Characteristics of the Thesis, Evaluation, and Major Credit

The topic of the thesis must be comparative and/or theoretical. It is also possible to write a thesis that consists of an original translation of a significant text or texts; in this case, a theoretical apparatus must accompany the translation. The complete thesis must be at least 50 and at most 75 pages in length, excluding the bibliography.

The advisor will assign the grades for the thesis courses (COMP 493-W-494); the Advisory Committee will determine whether a candidate will receive Honors, Highest Honors, or no honors.

For students who pursue an honors thesis, the total number of courses required for the major-including the thesis course (COMP 493-W-494)-is 12, i.e., one of the thesis courses may substitute for one elective.

STUDY ABROAD

The Program in Comparative Literature strongly urges its students to study abroad. Students who have Comparative Literature as a major should seriously consider study abroad in a country where their specialty language is spoken; they will likely be able to complete some of the specialty language courses required for the major during study abroad. Literary Studies students can also benefit from study abroad; literature courses from abroad are often candidates for credit as major electives.