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Founded in 1949, Indiana University's Department of Comparative Literature is one of the oldest and most comprehensive in the United States. We have pioneered developments that have helped to move the discipline beyond its origins in European literary and intellectual traditions, and, with the cooperation of colleagues in other departments and programs, we now stand at the crossroads of the humanities, providing our students with a rich and illuminating range of approaches to literary study.

Slide Show


Graduate Conference
10-11 April 2015 Bloomington, Indiana University


Keynote Address by Professor Richard Dyer, King's College London

A missed connection is an attempt to reach out to a stranger whom one has encountered in the past, often with the hope of establishing an emotional or physical contact. At its core is a search for a new beginning or, at least, the potential of a closure.
Literature offers countless examples of missed connections: desperate lovers and failed revenge, comedies of errors and Kafkaesque scenarios, cultural gaps, open endings and unfinished novels. These unfulfilled encounters are never concretized, yet they can be sources of inspiration for writers for whom absence is a productive condition.
In media today, missed connections are manifestations of society’s struggles with language and failures of communication. Different forms of ads, online or in newspapers, offer the opportunity to amend the loss of an initial personal contact by mediating desires through a third party entity.
The phrase ‘missed connections’ thus embodies a paradox because it contains both an original unfulfilled communication and the potential remedy for this absence through textualization.
In a world where communication is facilitated through mediation, what kind of connection is missed and what kind is re-created? This conference seeks to provide allegorical understandings of the concept within culture. We want to start from the initial paradox of the missed connection as simultaneous presence and absence to investigate the interactions between the norms and the margins. In this global world, how do we negotiate our identities in the structures of language and society? Comparative Literature has always been the third party that connects texts and cultures together across time, space, and language, thus destabilizing notions of cultural hegemony, canons and authorship.
We want to encourage interdisciplinary and global approaches to the field of Comparative Literature. We welcome proposals from a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to: Literary Studies, Film and Media Studies, Gender Studies, Translation Studies, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, Critical Race Studies, Religious Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Cognitive Science.
Suggested themes for our discussion:

  • Memory, collective memory and history
  • Diasporas, citizenships, nations
  • Incomplete, fragmented, unfinished, experimental, posthumous texts, mixed media

  • Love, romance, sexuality and gender
  • (in)communicability ; the ineffable, spoken, read, or imagined languages
  • Mediated communication, social media platforms, blogging culture and biographical/autobiographical

Please send an abstract (300 words max), a title for the presentation (20 min max), and a short bio (50 words max) including your name, email address, degree level and institutional affiliation to: (both in the body  .of the email and as an attachment) by February 20 2015




copyright 2014 Papers by C. Clifford Flanigan Guest Editor: Robert L. A. Clark


The Transatlantyk Goes to Bill Johnston

The winner of Transatlantyk Prize for 2014 was named Bill Johnston, an outstanding translator of Polish literature into English, an ambassador for Polish culture and language, and a professor of comparative literature at Indiana University in the USA, where he directed the Polish Studies Center for many years.

The sum of his translations covers several dozen works and is impressive indeed: Johnston has translated early Polish literature (The Envoys by Jan Kochanowski), the Romantics (Słowacki's Balladina), realist writers of the late 19th century (Żeromski's Coming Spring and The Faithful River, Prus's The Sins of Childhood), and many of the 20th-century classics, above all Gombrowicz (Bacacay and Polish Memories), the short stories of Herling-Grudziński, the novels of Szczypiorski, and the poetry of Baczyński and Różewicz.

The award ceremony took place on 12 June at Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. The award is 10,000 euro and a statuette by Łukasz Kieferling.

The Transatlantyk is a Book Institute Award for outstanding ambassadors of Polish literature abroad. Its aim is to promote Polish literature in the world, and to integrate the communities of those working to promote Polish literature (translators, literary critics, literary historians, cultural animators).

hertz book Eugenio Montale, the Fascist Storm, and the Jewish Sunflower covers one of the great hidden sagas of modern literature. During Italy’s fascist period, Eugenio Montale – winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature and one of the greatest modern poets in any language – fell in love with Irma Brandeis, a glamorous and beautiful Dante scholar and an American Jew. While their romance would fall apart, it would have literary repercussions that extended throughout the poet’s career: Montale’s works abound with secret codes that speak to a lost lover and muse.Image and description courtesy of University of Toronto Press





May 2014 Undergraduate Miranda Caudell wins Palmer-Brandon Prize!

"Mark Twain on Spain" in theHoagy Carmichael Room, Morrison Hall April 10th, 2014. Professor Rolena Adorno a guest from Yale University with David Hertz, Manuela Carvalho, Rosemarie McGerr and Paul Losensky


Dramatic ExperimentsEyal Peretz published a new book: Dramatic Experiments: Life according to Diderot

Dramatic Experiments offers a comprehensive study of Denis Diderot, one of the key figures of European modernity. Diderot was a French Enlightenment philosopher, dramatist, art critic, and editor of the first major modern encyclopedia. He is known for having made lasting contributions to a number of fields, but his body of work is considered too dispersed and multiform to be unified. Eyal Peretz locates the unity of Diderot’s thinking in his complication of two concepts in modern philosophy: drama and the image. Diderot’s philosophical theater challenged the work of Plato and Aristotle, inaugurating a line of drama theorists that culminated in the twentieth century with Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud. His interest in the artistic image turned him into the first great modern theorist of painting and perhaps the most influential art critic of modernity. With these innovations, Diderot provokes a rethinking of major philosophical problems relating to life, the senses, history, and appearance and reality, and more broadly a rethinking of the relation between philosophy and the arts. Peretz shows Diderot to be a radical thinker well ahead of his time, whose philosophical effort bears comparison to projects such as Gilles Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism, Martin Heidegger’s fundamental ontology, Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction, and Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalysis.