FLL 630/English 660:

Comparative Literature: Function and Methods

MWF 1:30-2:20; HEAV 101; Fall 2003

Professor Charles Ross

Office: 304B Heavilon

E-mail: cross@purdue.edu; tel. 494-3749

Office hours: MWF 12:20-1:20, or after class or by appointment (email)


Course description

This course serves as an introduction to graduate study in Comparative Literature. Its purpose is to define comparative literature, review the fundamentals of literary study, introduce the relationship between literature and theory, review the beginnings of Western literature, and establish a basis upon which more sophisticated methods and theories may be built as you work toward the Ph.D. degree. The assumption is that the most sophisticated theorists are also well grounded in literature and able to explain traditional methods of analysis in clear and convincing language.


Course objectives

In this class you will learn to read literature carefully and analytically; respond to literature both orally and in writing; understand the value of comparing different literatures; encounter other languages you may wish to study further.


Texts (Available at Von’s Books.)

·         The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, ed. Vincent Leitch. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001.

·         The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Volume A, ed. Sarah Lawall. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2002.


·         Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, ed. Sylvan Barnet. Compact Edition. New York: Longman, 2003. 



Five short-answer and essay exams, based on the reading and class discussion, one roughly every three weeks on Fridays: September 12, October 3, October 24, November 14, and December 5. 10 points each out of 100 total for the semester.



A four-page paper due Wednesday September 24; a six-page paper due November 3. These can be rewritten for a new grade. The final 10-15 page paper is due during exam week. Please refer to Literature for Composition if you have any questions about style.


Attendance and Policies:

You are expected to attend every class. Do not plagiarize; there is a Purdue website on plagiarism if you have any questions.



Bassnet, Susan. Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1993.

Bernheimer, Charles, Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1995.


Syllabus, English 660 / FLL 630

Comparative Literature: Function and Methods



Aug 25

Introduction:, Odyssey 1 pp. 225-236

Aug 27

Gilgamesh 1-52

Aug 29

Creation: Genesis; pp. 53-63; Ovid’s Metamorphosis, handout; Aquinas, 240-246;

Sept 1—Labor Day


Sept 3

 Joseph pp. 63-77; Schleiermacher, 610-625

Sept 5

 Job, Psalms, Song of Songs, Jonah, pp. 77-103; Maimonides, 211-226

Sept 8

Sidney’s Defense of Poetry,  pp. 323-362

Sept 10

Iliad, pp. 104-136 (Nestor’s speech)

Sept 12


Sept 15:

Iliad 6, pp, 136-137; Gorgias, 29-33; Judith Buter, 2485-2501

Sept 17

Plato, pp. 29-85

Sept 19

Derrida, Plato’s Pharmacy, pp. 1830-1866

Sept 22—No class


Sept 24

First paper due

Iliad 9, 16, pp. 147-177; Aristotle’s Poetics, 86-117

Sept 26

Iliad 18, 22, 24, pp. 177-225; Aeneid 8, pp. 1125-1129

Sept 29

Odyssey 1-4, pp. 225-278; Aristotle’s Rhetoric, 117-121

Oct 1

Odyssey 5-8; pp. 278-319

Oct 3


Oct 6

Horace, Longinus, Quintillian, pp. 121-171

Oct 8

Odyssey 9-12, pp. 319-376;Geoffrey of Vinsauf, 226-240

Oct 10

Odyssey 13-16, pp. 376-429; Giraldi, 271-278.

Oct 13

Odyssey 17-20, pp. 429-483; handout from Auerbach’s Mimesis

Oct 15

Odyssey 21-24, pp. 483-533;

Oct 17

Plotinus, Augustine, Macrobius, 171-201

Oct 20

Aeneid 1, 2, pp. 1052-1085

Oct 22

Aeneid 4, 6 pp. 1085-1125

Oct 24


Oct 27

Sappho, pp. 531-533; Ovid, “Daphne and Apollo” pp. 1138-1141

Oct 29

T’ang Dynasty lyric (Chinese)

Oct 31

Sonnets: Dante, Petrarch, Shakespeare

Nov 3

Second paper due

German lyric: from Minnesinger to Heinrich Heine’s Lorelei (German)

Nov 5

Leopardi’s L’Infinito (Italian

Nov 7

Baudelaire’s Hymn à la beauté; Baudelaire, 789-802.

Nov 10

Keat’s Ode to a Nightingale

Nov 12

Wordsworth, “Preface to Lyrical Ballads,” 645-668

Nov 14


Nov 17

Aeschylus, Agamemnon, pp. 533-611

Nov 19

Nietzsche, 870-895

Nov 21

Freud, 913-956

Nov 24

Sophocles, Oedipus the King, pp. 612-658

Nov 26 28: Thanksgiving


Dec. 1

Antigone, pp. 658-693

Dec. 3

Corneille, 363-378

Dec 5


Dec 8

Early China, pp. 805-820

Dec 10

Confucius, pp. 820-831

Dec 12

Chuang Chou, pp. 832-858

Exam week

Third paper due