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Comparative literature is an ideal major for students with a background in at least one foreign language who are interested in the study of literature, but do not wish to be constrained by the limits of a single national or linguistic tradition. Comparatists believe that we arrive at a deeper understanding of literary forms, genres, and movements by situating them in international contexts and by examining the ways in which works allude to and connect with each other across national boundaries. Comparative literature also encourages students to become familiar with theories of literature and literary meaning and to explore the

relations between literature and philosophy, as well as literature and the other arts. It offers a flexible program of study that leaves students considerable freedom to pursue their own interests while also promoting a broad-based, international, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature and culture.


The Comparative Literature Program at the University of Virginia offers a number of courses which introduce students to works from a diverse range of literary or cultural traditions. Faculty associated with the program currently include many distinguished scholars with a national or international reputation. Comparative literature also draws on the resources of the language and literature departments on grounds: Asian and Middle Eastern Languages; Classics; French; German; Slavic; Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. All Comparative Literature majors are required to do advanced study in at least one foreign literature in the original language and to take courses from at least two literature departments. Given the immeasurable gains in linguistic proficiency and cultural knowledge that can accrue from an extended stay overseas, they are encouraged to explore the various possibilities offered at the University of Virginia for study abroad

As well as acquiring the reading and writing skills of an English major and the language skills of a foreign language major, comparative literature students also gain a deeper understanding of cultural differences and interrelations. This international perspective is one that is increasingly sought by employers in a globalizing world. Comparative literature majors find jobs in business, journalism, library science, publishing, high school teaching, and similar fields; some students go on to further study, including law school and graduate study in comparative literature or in a specific national literature.

 
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