Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Curriculum Overview
Comparative Literary Studies

The minor in Comparative Literary Studies investigates the development of literature  in an international and historical context. In this program, students study foundational  works of literature from a variety of historical periods and national traditions in order to  understand the diverse ways in which literary processes unfold in different social milieus  and the interrelationships among different literary traditions. The study of genres, periods and themes across diverse cultures promotes “liberal education” in its truest sense, by  enabling students to see beyond the parochial constraints of any single literary tradition. 

Since antiquity, humanity has produced literary documents that serve as a repository of  knowledge and wisdom, offering us the opportunity to reflect on the human experience.  In addition to inspiring, literature enables us to see the ways in which other cultures are  like our own, since we can discern in their literatures basic commonalities of form and  theme that ground and sustain all peoples from otherwise diverse cultural, aesthetic and  linguistic backgrounds. 

The study of literary works offers a rich field of study for scholars from a broad range of  academic disciplines. Because literature has always served as both outlet and inspiration  for artists, historians (and makers of history), social thinkers and musicians, understanding  literature prepares students in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences to  participate actively in the global exchange of ideas. 

A minor in Comparative Literary Studies consists of six courses. One of these is the  required core course, LIT 201 Introduction to Comparative Literary Studies. The other  five are electives; at least two of these must be at the 200 level or higher.