Seminar : comparative literature

lrom2755  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

Seminar : comparative literature
5 credits
15.0 h
Dufays Sophie;
Main themes
A new question of comparative literature will be analyzed each year. The topic will be selected from one of the subfields of the discipline (comparative poetry, literary and cultural relations, literary theory). The question may potentially be derived from topics students are investigating for their thesis (in the case that enough students' interests overlap in terms of thematic, linguistic, theoretical and/or methodological dimensions).

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


- Introduce students to the methodologies and principles of the discipline through the analysis of a particular question of comparative literature.
- Provide students with an understanding of the essential structures and challenges of comparative literature and prepare them to undertake their own advanced research in the field of comparative literary studies.
- Encourage students to research questions related to national literature, as well as to expand their knowledge of foreign literature (Europe, Africa, America, Asia).
- Help student defining a research topic (by choosing a body of literature and a consistent methodological framework) and to analyze it using a critical approach and a comparative perspective.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
In 2017-2018, the seminar of comparative literature will focus on the relationships between popular song, writing and fiction in the contemporary novel. Throughout the 20th century, the links between literature and popular song have become stronger, and the second - which is now recognized as a full literary form in its own right (cf. the Nobel Prize granted to Bob Dylan) - has turned out to be a key source of inspiration and revitalization for many authors of novels. In a corpus of novels from different continents (Europe, Americas, Africa), students will analyze the narrative and fictional modalities of insertion and circulation of the song, as well as its uses and effects on the reader. Beyond the simple process of quotation, the objective is to explore and compare the poetics that the novels invent under the influence of the song, in different cultural contexts, and in relation to a series of questions or themes (such as memory, affect, voice, rhythm) that the students will problematize from the texts.
Teaching methods
- introductory sessions to the topic
- participation of the students, who will comment their theoretical and literary reading and will make an oral presentation of their work in progress.

Evaluation methods
The assessment of this seminar consists of two parts:   
1) An ongoing evaluation of the student active participation to the seminar (20%)
2) A paper dedicated to a subject and a corpus related to the focus of the seminar (80%). Students are required to follow these instructions:  
a) a written final paper (8-10 pages)
b) the precise topic of the paper will be determined by the student based on the theoretical readings on the syllabus and the relationships between song, writing and fiction. The paper should analyze two novels from the literary readings of the seminar.
c) the paper should be posted electronically in PDF format on the Moodle website of the course by the first day of the relevant exams session (June or August).
 The final evaluation will take into account the attention given to the quality of the written expression in French.
In case of failure in January, the mark for the participation remains valid.
Other information
Some theoretical texts will be available only in English.
The students may read the novels in their original language, according to their linguistic skills.
Online resources
Moodle Website for the course
- textes théoriques
- corpus littéraire provisoire (sera confirmé avant le début du séminaire) :
1. Nancy Huston, Cantique des plaines (1993) Titre original : Plainsong
2. Zoé Valdés, La Douleur du dollar (trad. par Liliane Hasson chez Actes Sud, 1997). Titre original : Te di la vida entera (1996)
3. Jean-Jacques Schuhl, Ingrid Caven (2000) ou Christian Garcin, Le Vol du pigeon voyageur (2000), ou Maylis de Kerangal, Dans les rapides (2014)
4. Eugène Ebodé, Silikani (2006) ou Gaël Faye, Petit pays (2016)
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General

Master [120] in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : French as a Foreign Language

Master [120] in Anthropology

Master [120] in Modern Languages and Literatures : General

Master [120] in Ancient and Modern Languages and Literatures