General and Comparative Literature : Methods and Practices

LFIAL1330  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

General and Comparative Literature : Methods and Practices
5.0 credits
30.0 h


This course completes the introduction to European literature begun in course LFIAL 1130, which is a prerequisite.

Main themes

1. Present the variety of fields of study, methods, practices, theoretical issues and perspectives of general and comparative literature, both as a critical methodology employed in the study of literature and the ways the latter is practiced around the world.
2. Provide, through this systematic introduction to the discipline, research tools in general and comparative literature, as well as instruction for the preparation of written work relevant to the comparative demonstration (comparative comment of reading notes, etc.).
3. Studies of specific subjects according to comparative methodology and within the broader and theoretical perspective of general literature. The content of the courses offered to students will allow them to come to a clear understanding - through an immediate application consisting of an in-depth study of certain subjects - of the fundamental principles that define this discipline.


  • 1

    Understand whether and how cultures and literatures of different periods and linguistic traditions, European and international, interact, according to different phenomena and modalities (readings, translations, travels, loans, adjustments, etc.) within a literary, unitary, constant and simultaneous comprehension of the world.
    Explore different critical approaches to literary texts and various methods of analysis applied to literary and artistic facts, with the ultimate aim of implementing a theoretical approach to literature.
    By the end of the course, students will have developed a broad and supranational vision of literature as it is produced and read in different countries around the world. They will be able to move, in a systematic and relevant way, within different coherent sets of literary and artistic productions, without temporal, geographic or linguistic limitations.
    The comparative approach, based on the simultaneous and joint study of at least two languages and literatures, also constitutes an occasion for students to satisfactorily engage with the new and broadened linguistic and literary knowledge they will have acquired or will be in the process of acquiring within the training provided in their curriculum.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.


This course offers an introduction to modernist literature by taking the process of the interior monologue in its different forms and variations as our main focus. The writers studied, through this narrative technique, renew the novelistic aesthetics and break with the representation of the reality in traditional novels. This literary renewal must be understood within the particular historical, cultural and intellectual moment of the early twentieth century in Europe. Artistic vanguards, Freud’s discovery of the unconscious as well as phenomenology in philosophy, place experience, and more broadly the subject, are all at the heart of these investigations. The literature of this time seeks a form able to authentically reflect the interiority of the subject and its intimate way of thinking, feeling and perceiving the world. This course, in addition to the in-depth literary study of the four works in the corpus, will make it possible to understand literary phenomena in relation to the artistic movements and currents of thought contemporary to them.

Teaching methods

This course will combine lectures and literary interpretation where students will be asked to discuss the texts.

Evaluation methods

The students will have to write a “reading journal” where they will give an account of their reading of the works in the program. At the end of the semester there will be a written evaluation.

  • Les quatre oeuvres du corpus et les notes de cours. Ponctuellement des textes théoriques seront mis à disposition par l'enseignante pour compléter la compréhension des 'uvres.
  • Édouard Dujardin, Les lauriers sont coupés, Flammarion, Paris, 2001 [1887].
  • Knut Hamsun, La faim, Le livre de Poche, Paris, 1989 [1890], trad. du norvégien par Georges Sautreau ; Knut Hamsun, Sult, Nabu Press, 2010.
  • Arthur Schnitzler, Mademoiselle Else, Stock, Paris, 2002 [1924], trad. de l’allemand  par Dominique Auclères ; Fräulein Else, Reclam, 2017.
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, Folio Gallimard, Paris, 1994 [1925], trad. de l'anglais par Marie-Claire Pasquier ; Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, Penguin, 2000

Une bibliographie critique sera mise à disposition par l’enseignante.


Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Program title
Minor in French Studies

Minor in Literary Studies

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures: German, Dutch and English

Bachelor in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General

Certificat universitaire en littérature