Postgraduate taught 

Comparative Literature MLitt

Theories Of Reading COMPLIT4003

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The primary purpose of this course is to make students aware that how to read is often as important as what is read. The course introduces students to various ways of thinking about the reading process in comparative literature, exemplified by text-oriented, context-oriented, reader-oriented, and material-oriented theories.


2x1hr seminar per week, Tuesday at 1pm and Friday at 11am over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Commentary (1000 words) - 30%

Essay (3000 words) - 70%

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 different theories and approaches to reading across time and space  

■ illustrate and discuss various examples of critical approaches, with a particular focus on their application to the field of comparative literature  

■ emphasize the materiality of reading and its consequences for the study of texts  

■ explore different manifestations of the circulation and transformation of texts across time, space, and media forms

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ clearly communicate the significance of material culture for the study of reading practices and the transmission of texts  

■ synthesize different approaches to the study of reading practices and the transmission of texts, and integrate them into their existing practice in the context of Comparative Literature  

■ critically assess and apply relevant approaches to case studies related to reading and the circulation of texts  

■ develop a series of transferable skills: produce sustained arguments in writing, critical analysis of cultural products, the critical understanding of the diverse nature of media

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.