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Comparative Literature

Paul Allen Miller, Director

Core Faculty
Charles J. Alber, Ph.D., Indiana University, 1971 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian)
Amittai Aviram, Ph.D., Yale University, 1984 (English)
Kwame Senu Neville Dawes, Ph.D., University of New Brunswick, 1992 (English)
Martin J. Donougho, Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1980 (Philosophy)
Jeanne M. Garane, Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1994 (French and Classics)
Scott Gwara, Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1993 (English)
Freeman Henry, Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1973 (French and Classics)
Judith Kalb, Ph.D. Stanford University, 1996 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian)
Maria Angelica G. Lopes, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1980 (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese)
Paul Allen Miller, Ph.D., University of Texas, 1989 (French and Classics)
Agnes Mueller, Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, 1997 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian)
J. Alexander Ogden, Ph.D., Stanford University, 1997 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian)
Celso de Oliveira, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1976 (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese)
Lawrence Rhu, Ph.D., Harvard University, 1987 (English)
Phillip B. Rollinson, Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1968 (English)
Meili Steele, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1984 (English)
Nicholas Vazsonyi, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1993 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian)
Sarah Westphal, Ph.D., Yale University, 1983 (Medieval and Women’s Studies)

Consulting Faculty
Ward Briggs, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1974 (French and Classics)
John Duffy, Ph.D., Indiana University, 1995 (French and Classics)
Ina Rae Hark, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1975 (English)
Ramona Lagos, Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1982 (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese)
Nancy E. Lane, Ph.D., Indiana University, 1976 (French and Classics)
Kevin Lewis, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1980 (Religious Studies)
Faust Pauluzzi, Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1980 (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese)
Cassie Premo Steele, Ph. D., Emory University, 1996 (English)
Tan Ye, Ph. D., Washington University, 1991 (Germanic, Slavic and East Asian)


Comparative literature at the University of South Carolina is an interdisciplinary program that invites students to examine literature from a multitude of perspectives. The Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy programs are built around a core curriculum grounded in the history of literary criticism and theory. Students are then encouraged to move out from this core by developing their own degree plans and research agendas, which combine in exciting and innovative ways the study of language, literature, art, cinema, and culture. Comparative literature offers students the opportunity to fashion their own unique intellectual journeys while fostering the program’s core values of linguistic competence, theoretical fluency, and broad literary culture.


The following are guidelines, not minimums for acceptance. It is recognized that each student is unique, and applicants are considered on an individual basis.

M.A. (and concurrent M.A. and Ph.D.)

Applicants should have a minimum 3.00 GPA in their undergraduate major, evidence of work in literature, and a foreign language. They should have a minimum of 1000 total on the verbal and analytical sections of the GRE (800 for non-native speakers). Applicants are asked to submit a writing sample of 3,000 words and a statement of purpose (300 words maximum).


Applicants should have a minimum 3.00 GPA in their undergraduate major and 3.50 GPA in graduate course work. They should have significant course work in at least one foreign language and a minimum of 1000 total on the verbal and analytical sections of the GRE (800 for non-native speakers). Applicants are asked to submit a writing sample of 3,000 words and a statement of purpose (300 words maximum).

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the M.A. degree must take graduate-level literature courses in one foreign language and study at least two national literatures. Candidates may substitute the M.A. comprehensive for the Ph.D. qualifying exam if they are continuing for a doctorate. For a terminal M.A., the student will be given a written exam consisting of one question on theory based on course work and an oral exam based on course work. Students will write a thesis on a topic chosen by them in conjunction with their committee and the graduate director.

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are required to take graduate-level course work in at least one foreign language and demonstrate reading knowledge in two. Each candidate must study three or more national literatures, although students may substitute an outside area for their third literature with the approval of the graduate director. Each student will pass a three-hour qualifying examination in two equal parts: an essay on literary theory and an explication of a passage in the student's first foreign literature. The comprehensive examination will consist of three two-hour written exams on each of three reading lists that the student will draw up in conjunction with the committee, followed by a one-hour oral exam. Students whose first literature is not English will write one of their essays in the language of that literature. Each student will write a dissertation on a topic chosen in conjunction with the committee and the graduate director.

Requests for further information should be addressed to Director, Comparative Literature Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

Course Descriptions (CPLT)

  • 597 -- Comparative Studies in Film. {=FILM 597} (3) Topics in film from an international perspective. National cinematic traditions are compared and contrasted.
  • 700 -- Proseminar in Comparative Literature. (1) Introduction to methods and topics of comparative literature. Pass-Fail Grading.
  • 701 -- Classics of Western Literary Theory. {=ENGL 733} (3) Problems of literary theory in texts from the ancients to the 17th century, with an emphasis on the classical tradition.
  • 702 -- Modern Literary Theory. {=ENGL 734} (3) Problems of literary theory from the 18th century to the 1960s.
  • 703 -- Topics in Contemporary Literary Theory. (3) Presents an in-depth study of selected schools or trends in contemporary literary theory.
  • 720 -- The Periods of Literature. (3) The study of one cultural period as an international movement. Topics will vary.
  • 730 -- The Literary Genre. (3) Study of a genre from its inception to the present and its manifestations in the several literatures. Topics will vary.
  • 740 -- Themes in Literature. (3) The study of recurrence and mutation in literary themes. Topics will vary.
  • 750 -- Cross-Cultural Literary Relations. (3) Topics will vary and will be announced (e.g., Anglo-French literary relations, 1740-1900; 20th-century German-American literary relations).
  • 760 -- Literature and Translation: Theory and Practice. (3) A survey of recent translation theory as it relates to literature, combined with translation analysis and actual translation of literary texts.
  • 765 -- Advanced Film Study. {=ENGL 765} (3) Methods of film analysis, resources for research, and the major critical theories.
  • 799 -- Thesis Preparation. (1-9)
  • 850 -- The Teaching of Comparative Literature. (3) Open to Ph.D. candidates who have passed their comprehensive examinations.
  • 880 -- Seminar in Comparative Literature. (3)
  • 881 -- Seminar in Comparative Literature. (3)
  • 882 -- Seminar in Comparative Literature. (3)
  • 883 -- Seminar in Comparative Literature. (3)
  • 895 -- Research. (3)
  • 896 -- Research. (3)
  • 899 -- Dissertation Preparation. (1-12)

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