Welcome to the Centre for Comparative Literature

The Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto offers M.A. and Ph.D. programs of study in every major area from medieval to contemporary literature with particular emphasis on literary theory and criticism.
The range of languages, literatures and special resources available at the University of Toronto enables students of Comparative Literature to explore literary achievements in a vast spectrum of national and linguistic traditions, while the Centre’s strong emphasis on modern literary theory gives their studies critical and methodological coherence.

Why study CompLit?

Understanding literatures—and their place within cultures and histories—means initiating dialogues between disparate literatures as well as between literature and its neighbouring cultural spheres. The Centre for Comparative Literature enables research that is among the best and most exciting at the University and that, because it crosses languages and national borders, cannot be done in any other venue.  Often the research is among the best and most exciting because it exceeds what can be done in a national literature department or a discipline. Working across languages is the only way to properly appreciate medieval Spain, travel writing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Eastern European samizdat publishing, popular culture in Nigeria, or life in Toronto.  But all literature has always been transnational. To properly appreciate phenomena like the nation-state, modern subjectivity, cultural exchange, or capitalist crisis, it is necessary to work across languages.  And how else can one begin to understand Canada?

Why study at the University of Toronto?

The University of Toronto has the largest library in Canada and the fourth largest in North America. The University of Toronto library is especially known for its collections in Spanish, Slavic languages, Medieval and Early modern, Canadiana, East Asian and South Asian languages and literatures. The University of Toronto is home to many centres of research and teaching excellence, including the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, the Centre for Ethics, the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. The University of Toronto has the largest English department in the country, the largest French department in Canada outside Quebec, and the largest departments of German, Slavic languages, Spanish and Portuguese, and Italian.

As a graduate student in the Centre for Comparative Literature you will have the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in an undergraduate department.  Many of our students teach their own language instruction courses in German, Russian, Czech, or French.  Many teach literature in the Literature and Critical Theory program or the English department.  Many teach Cinema Studies, Drama, or Book History and Media.