Department of Comparative Literature

In the Heart and Soul of Art and Culture

Poetic use of words began right at the inception of writing; it has characterized humanity and its mosaic of cultures all around the world. The entirety of literature is a massive colorful body of knowledge with infinite resonance between eras, writers, and genres.

The Department of Comparative Literature at Bar-Ilan University unveils this colorful cultural and artistic tapestry for its students in all of its complex weave of contexts. We read European, American, and East Asiatic literature; compare different genres including literature and theater, cinematography and music, and the arts of sculpture and painting; we illuminate cross-era influences, from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance to present day. Our students participate in theoretical and practical learning experiences that incorporate creative writing, directing, and acting workshops.

The unique combination of theory and practiced creativity equips our graduates with excellent academic capabilities and proficiency that enable them to fit into varied occupations as directors and dramaturges, content writers, editors, and critics in the media and publishing industry, teachers of literature within the contexts of other arts, and, of course, as performers and writers. The department also boasts an exceptional collaboration with the Beit Zvi School of the Performing Arts.

Academic Studies in an Incubator of Creativity and Impact 

The department’s multidisciplinary and comparative character is especially suitable for artists and scholars who seek broad and deep intellectual knowledge and wish to develop critical theoretical and original thinking. Starting with their BA studies, our students participate in conferences and seminars and expose to the most updated and novel research in the field. Through meetups with prominent and active artists in the various forms of literature and art, we enable our community of students and professors to conduct an intellectual discourse and impact the cultural agendas. In field activities—visiting theaters, concert halls, and galleries—we enable them to absorb the materials that make up our department. 

We have a fascinating reservoir of courses, including Discourse Between Arts: Literature, Photography, Art and Cinema; Kafka’s Riddle: Text and Reading Contexts; Cultures of Memory: Post-Holocaust Germany and Israel; Women in Wartimes as a Moral Case Study; Love Discourse in Literature and Music; Drugs Addiction in Literature; Between Literature and Psychology; The Development of the Detective Fiction; Shakespeare’s Plays; All That Jazz: Afro-American Literature Studies; The History of Comedy in France; Kabbalah and the World’s Literature; Between Men and Women in Russian Literature; The Quest for Redemption from Ancient India to Buddhism; and more.

Contribute Yourself to the Exploration of Art and Culture

The research methods studied in the department approach the text as a live existence in the present and a product of history and society. In the theoretical lore, we encounter structuralism, deconstruction, reception theory, critical theory, psychoanalysis, post-colonialism, gender theory, and feminist approaches, among others. We use the comparative methodology and esthetic doctrines to clarify the historical inter-relations between language and image, literature and visual art, or language and music. We also delve into aspects of Hebrew and Jewish tradition in Western culture and research, the influence of Western literature on contemporary Hebrew literature, and the Hebrew heritage influence in Western literature.

Our award winning, internationally published faculty members harness their experience and expertise to guide the students who choose to continue with us to master’s and doctoral studies. We provide a range of specializations in research tracks with or without a thesis, and tracks that fit teachers and full-time employees.

Our Unique Majors: MA with Creative Professional Growth

We offer two MA majors that combine workshop and theoretical courses:

  1. The Creative Writing Major focuses on the study and experience of writing technics such as prose and poetry, as well as a critical review of the different genres. Through accurate and constructive feedback, we aim to aid students in shaping their unique style as a professional artist. Instructors include writer and editor Yuval Shimony, poet and editor Eliaz Cohen, writer and editor Yehudit Kazir, and others.
  2. The Dramaturgy and Theater Major offers acting and directing workshops, core courses in comparative literature, and seminars in world literature, theory, and esthetics. Instructors include the director, Dr. Roi Horovich (The Cameri Theatre, Habima Theatre, and Beersheba Theatre), and playwriter, director, and actress Hadar Galron (Habima Theatre, Beit Lessin Theatre).

We invite you to visit our Facebook page to catch a glimpse of our many activities and the department’s cozy and creative atmosphere.