Comparative Approach of European Literatures

lfial1130  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Comparative Approach of European Literatures
3.00 credits
30.0 h
Béghin Laurent; Doyen Charles; Roland Hubert;
Main themes
This course will deal with periods, authors and example texts from European literature in chronological order from Antiquity to the twenty-first century, without differentiation on the basis of language, geographic origin or genre.
The historiographical particularities and lines of continuity such as the divergences which characterise different European literary traditions, will be studied via cross-cutting questions, comparisons and reading texts with commentaries. Cross-references between literature and other knowledge sources will also be set out gradually during the lessons as the material is tackled.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1. In terms of knowledge:
  • To achieve a grounding in basic knowledge by means of a chronology shared by the different disciplines being taught (archaeology, history, history of art, literature), in order to improve students' general understanding of culture so that they can take specialist courses offered by the Faculty;
  • To understand and apply the concepts, methods and practices for analysis which are particular to literary studies.
2. In terms of know-how:
  • To create links within the discipline and between the different disciplines in the shared semester, using the various approaches proposed by the teams of professors and the tutor;
  • To handle, in an appropriate and efficient manner, the different devices and tools for work made available by the instructors and tutor, in order to make their learning more successful and promote their chances of passing.
The primary aim of this course is to provide a broad introduction to European literatures, both in terms of texts and major periods, and in terms of methods of literary analysis. The course is designed to give the students an overview of historical developments in European literature by discussing the authors, works and currents that are deemed indispensable for a student in the Arts Faculty, and more generally, for the cultural background of all students.
Students will discover various approaches to literary texts, including the comparative method, applied to the major European authors and works of literature, without excluding in principle any language or period. The complex itinerary of this course will start at the origins of western culture (the Bible and Greek and Latin literature) and end in the 20th century, dealing along the way with the medieval and humanist traditions, the artistic and literary Renaissance, the Baroque, the Enlightenment and the 19th century. Some authors and some comparisons between texts will be studied more in depth.
Teaching methods
Following a chronological structure from antiquity until the 20th century, and taking into account their own areas of specialisation, each lecturer will concentrate on one or more periods in the history of European literature, applying their own methods of presentation and evaluation, which may be different from those of their colleagues.
Within this general framework of European writing, the members of the team will draw the students' attention to literary works that are considered to have had profound influence on the development of European literature. In order to facilitate this task, they have made obligatory the reading of five literary texts that are representative of the different genres, periods, languages and cultures. The three teachers will devote a part of their lectures to comment on this required reading. However, students are also expected to complement these comments with in-depth knowledge of the contents of these works, in order to prepare themselves properly for the exam.
Evaluation methods
The assessment of this course consists of 2 written tests :
  1. a multiple choice exam based on Prof. Laurent Béghin and Prof. Hubert Roland's lectures and on the 5 required readings;
  2. an open question on Prof. Paul-Augustin Deproost's lectures.
Other information

Online resources
Moodle website
Lectures obligatoires (2021-2022):
1ère partie du cours (C. Doyen)
Livre de la Genèse (50 chapitres) – diverses traductions (dont la TOB) disponibles sur
Homère, Iliade, chant I (611 vers) – traduction de Paul Mazon (CUF) disponible sur
Virgile, Énéide, chant VI (901 vers) – traduction disponible sur
Des traductions de bonne qualité sont disponibles en ligne : il n'est donc pas indispensable de se procurer les livres.
2e partie du cours (H. Roland)
William Shakespeare,Othello
- Traduction de François-Victor Hugo, coll. "Librio", Paris, Flammarion, [2016]
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Nathan le Sage
- Traduction française de l'édition "Folio Théâtre" par Dominique Lurcel, Paris, Gallimard, [2006]
3e partie du cours (L. Béghin)
Léon Tolstoï, La mort d'Ivan Ilitch, Trois morts, Maître et serviteur
- Traduction de Françoise Flamant, coll. Folio, Paris, Gallimard
Oscar Wilde, Le portrait de Dorian Gray
- Traduction de Jean Gattégno, coll. Folio, Paris, Gallimard
Les oeuvres des littératures étrangères peuvent également être lues dans leurs langues originales.
Une commande groupée des ouvrages a été passée auprès de la librairie Furet du Nord afin d'en faciliter l'accès, sans obligation pour vous de passer par là, bien entendu. Une petite réduction du prix a été négociée pour les étudiant·es, n'hésitez pas à le rappeler auprès des libraires!
Faculty or entity

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

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Bachelor in History of Art and Archaeology : General

Bachelor in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Oriental Studies

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General

Bachelor in Philosophy

Bachelor in Ancient Languages and Literatures : Classics

Bachelor in History

Bachelor in Ancient and Modern Languages and Literatures

Certificat universitaire en littérature

Minor in French Studies

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

Bachelor in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General

Minor in Literary Studies

Bachelor in History of Art and Archaeology : Musicology