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Origins of Comparative Literature

Since its inception in 19th Century France, the field of Comparative Literature has become established across the globe. Following the Second World War, the discipline spread rapidly in Germany, but also outside Europe, in particular in the USA. Initially, Comparative Literature connected national literatures that had previously been considered autonomous. Developments like the expansion of the EU and the fall of the Iron Curtain, but also a trend towards globalisation in the arts, have made the field of Comparative Literature more important than ever.

The history of our department

The Department of Comparative Literature was founded in 1980. At first it was only possible to study for a doctorate. In 1983, the Diploma degree was introduced on a trial basis, and was so successful that in 1993 it was converted into a regular Diploma degree course. In 2002 we introduced the new Diploma curriculum, and this in turn was replaced by the new Bachelor and Masters degrees in 2008. At the moment we have around 800 registered students, with around 120 new students per year. Around 250 Diploma theses and 20 Doctoral dissertations have been completed, as have three post-doctoral theses. Despite these changes, the number of staff has remained the same since 1980. Until Summer 1998, the Department’s home was a former apartment in Berggasse 11/5. The following semester, we took over two additional apartments from the Department of Finno-Ugrian Studies, which moved to the new Campus. In Autumn 2004, the Department became part of the new School of European and Comparative Literature and Language Studies. In Autumn 2010, we look forward to our move into a new building in Sensengasse.

Department of Comparative Literature
University of Vienna

Sensengasse 3a
A-1090 Vienna

T: +43-1-4277-430 71
F: +43-1-4277-430 89
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0