The Literature and Comparative Cultures Major and the Comparative Literature Major allow students to address fundamental questions about the nature, function, and value of literature in a broadly comparative context. Students read and write about a wide variety of literary works across periods, genres, and national traditions. They investigate ancient and contemporary approaches to literary study, theories and methods of comparison, and the relationship of literature to film and other media. Majors have the freedom to construct a program of study that reflects their intellectual goals. All prospective majors should register with the director of undergraduate studies, who will work with them to develop a coherent sequence of courses suited to their individual interests.
The majors offer a number of their own courses, which constitute the core of the programs. Other courses are normally chosen from different language and literature programs, many of which offer courses on literature and film in translation. Among these programs are African American Studies, Classics, East Asian Languages and Literatures, English Language and Literature, Film and Media Studies, French, German Studies, Italian, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Portuguese, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Spanish. Students with a particular interest in film or literary translation may wish to elect the film track or translation track within the majors, as described below.
Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to begin the study of a foreign language as early as possible in their academic careers and to continue such study throughout their time at Yale. Students interested in graduate study in comparative literature should be aware that many programs require reading knowledge of two or three foreign languages.