Course Offerings Fall 2014


CPLT 180 World Literature

This course is an introduction to the study of world literature. Students will read a selection of foundational works of literature from a variety of times and cultures, observing those qualities that allowed the works to transcend their historical moment in order to enter into global consciousness. We will study the assigned texts from three points of view: as individual works of literary art, as rising out of a specific cultural context, and as works that have escaped that original context into other languages and ages. Noting how some meanings are lost in translation and others gained, students will develop a mode of reading and a critical vocabulary. The required readings will likely be drawn from the following works: The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, The Ramayana, The Aeneid, One Thousand and One Nights, Dream of the Red Chamber, The Tale of Genji, Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, Jane Eyre, Heart of Darkness, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Omeros, The Satanic Verses, Things Fall Apart. Taught primarily in lecture and not writing intensive. 1.0 unit(s) Prerequisites: None. Offered in the fall

CPLT 284 Magical Realism

This course examines fictions whose basic reality would be familiar if not for the introduction of a magical element that undermines commonplace notions about what constitutes reality in the first place. The magical element can be a demon, talisman, physical transformation, miraculous transition in space or time, appearance of a second plane of existence, revelation of the unreality of the primary plane of existence, etc. Students will read Kafka's Metamorphosis, Queneau's The Blue Flowers, Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Calvino's If on a Winter Night a Traveler, Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and Sokolov's School for Fools, and short stories by Borges, Cortazar, and Nabokov. 1.0 unit(s) Prerequisites:None

CPLT 288 The Art of the European Novel

Our course will trace the development of the novel from its early beginnings through its reincarnation in the Middle Ages (Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival) to its popular rise in the last three centuries. We will consider authors from France (Rabelais, Flaubert), Spain (Cervantes), England (Richardson, Brontë), Germany (Kafka), Russia (Tolstoy) and Italy (Calvino) and discuss various sub-genres of this most popular of all literary genres (among them the picaresque novel, Bildungsroman, gothic novel, etc.). 1.0 unit(s) Prerequisites: None. Offered in the spring

CPLT 334 Literature and Medicine

Drawing on texts from different countries, this course investigates literature's obsession with medicine.  Literary representations of doctors and patients, as well as the effect of sickness on family structure, touching on mental and physical suffering of various kinds—hysteria and depression, childbirth and abortion, disability, PTSD and AIDS, death and mourning, the search for healing and the redemptive power of art. Attention will be given to the links between the treatment of medical issues in fiction, and autobiographies. Selected visual representations, in film and photography, will also be introduced. 1.0 unit(s) Prerequisites: One 200-level course in literature or by permission of the instructor. Not open to first-year students.

CPLT 350 Research or Individual Study

1.0 unit(s) Prerequisites:Permission of the Director. Open to juniors and seniors.


CPLT 360 Senior Thesis Research

1.0 unit(s) Prerequisites: Permission of the Director.


CPLT 370 Senior Thesis

1.0 unit(s) Prerequisites:CPLT 360 and permission of the department.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Comparative Literature Program
Founders Hall
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Tel: 781.283.2609

Thomas Nolden

Program Director

Robin Lush
Assistant to Religion Department & Interdisciplinary Programs