This course introduces students to the study of comparative literature as a rigorous intellectual discipline. There are no prerequisites, and this class has been designed both for students who are considering majors in related fields and those who seek a broader, theoretically rooted understanding of reading and enjoying literature. Our readings will include both literary and theoretical texts; we will be reading novels, essays, poems, and plays that come from a range of periods and of literary traditions. However, this class is a survey neither of literary theory nor of world literature. It is instead an introduction to ways in which we might approach literature, through the practice of close reading and analysis. Questions we address include: how do we read works from different literary traditions? How can works written in different times and different languages inform each other? How are canons and literary histories created? This course is reading intensive; students will be expected to come to class highly prepared and ready to discuss what they have read. Course requirements include regular attendance to both lectures and recitations, three 5-7 pp papers, a midterm, and a final examination. All readings are in English translation.