Comparative Literature MA

Global Novels: how translated fiction becomes World Literature COMPLIT4031

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce students to theories of world literature and will discuss how novels move across linguistic and cultural boundaries, as well as the transformations that they undergo in this process. Particular attention will be paid to issues of translation and to the intersection of the global and the local. The course will include theoretical works by Franco Moretti, Pascale Casanova, David Damrosch, Emily Apter, and novels by Roberto Bolaño, Haruki Murakami and Elena Ferrante.


20 x 1 hour sessions over both semesters as scheduled in MyCampus

Excluded Courses





Time-limited assignment, to be completed over a 4-day period (1500 words) - 50%

Essay (2000 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

• Introduce students to theories of world literature and to elements of sociology of translation and encourage them to apply these theories on selected case studies;

• Encourage students to think critically of the dynamics between the "local" and the "global" in the production, translation and reception of contemporary novels;

• Increase awareness of how issues of translation shape cultural representations;

• Familiarise students with a range of fictional writing produced in different cultural contexts and thus deepen their understanding of cultural difference as represented in contemporary fiction that achieves global visibility;

• Enhance students' ability to construct persuasive arguments grounded in critical interpretation and cultural/ historical context.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

• Identify points of debate in scholarly writing on the topic studied and engage with these debates in the analysis of primary sources

• Apply critical reading skills to cultural products and master the tools for comparative analysis

• Articulate a critical response to issues of translation and reception and analyse these issues within the selected case studies

•Produce well-supported and well-referenced written arguments on course topics

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.