Literary Theory and Translation Studies

The cluster of concerns that fall under literary theory remains a vital core interest of Comparative Literature as faculty research has expanded to include new critical and post-critical perspectives. Literary theory addresses questions regarding the nature and production of meaning and form in language generally and in literary works in particular (poetics, genre, and rhetoric), performativity, the constitution of the subject, cognitive science and philosophy of mind, theories of inscription, and practices of reading. Typically engaged with European philosophy and with psychoanalysis, this field of inquiry has been traditionally identified with structuralist and poststructuralist theory as well as the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School and its heirs.

The Department of Comparative Literature at Cornell has been prominent in this area while orienting itself to the future by integrating work from Asia and the Global South into a more expansive, decentered, trans-regional field of theoretical investigation. Translation studies addresses traditional trans-linguistic theories and practices but also issues concerning the crossing of cultures and nations, both of which have become increasingly necessary and vexed in the context of globalization.

Related people

Image of Cathy Caruth
Cathy Caruth

Class of 1916 Professor of English

Image of Laurent Dubreuil
Laurent Dubreuil

Professor of French, Francophone & Comparative Literature

Image of Philip Lorenz
Philip Lorenz

Associate Professor

Image of Tracy McNulty
Tracy McNulty


All research areas

Comparative and World Literature    Comparative Media Studies    Critical Studies of Race, Gender, and Sexuality    Literary Theory and Translation Studies    Literature, Science, and the Environment    Politics and Aesthetics    Psychoanalysis and Trauma Studies    Transregional and Postcolonial Studies