Continental Literature and Literary Criticism & Theory | English | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Continental Literature and Literary Criticism & Theory

The Department of English at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale offers a PhD in English with emphasis on Continental Literature, and Literary Criticism and Theory as part of its doctoral program in modern literature. This emphasis requires a thorough study of English and American literature as well as further study of literature in translation, originating from Continental Europe, and Literary Theory that has been written in or translated into English.

This is a modification of the traditional comparative literature curriculum without the required advanced fluency and reading knowledge in at least two foreign languages. Two years of college instruction in two foreign languages with a B-or-better average is, however, required for any doctoral research at SIU. The second foreign language requirement may be substituted by a different, approved research tool pertinent to the student's field of interest.


Students must satisfy the general PhD core requirements set by the Department. Thereafter or simultaneously, students specialize in several courses in Continental Literature, and Literary Criticism and Theory. There are also opportunities for a one-year exchange to Regensburg University or Mainz University (Germany) or University College-Galway (Ireland) for students interested in the Colonial/Postcolonial focus.

Among the seminars recently or soon to be taught in this area are The Continental Stream of Consciousness Novel, Modernism/Postmodernism, Bakhtin and the Novel, Hermeneutics: From Descartes to Derrida, Claiming a Text, Reclaiming a Self: Putative Identities in Walcott and Heaney, Subjects of Empire: Studies in the Colonial and Postcolonial Novel, and Literary Theory in Foucault.

Recent Ph.D. Dissertations

  • Dennis Ciesielski, Meeting at the Interface: Rhetoric, Philosophy and Postmodern Ways of Knowing.
  • Victor Paul Hitchcok, The Politics of Experimentalism in Alain Robbe-Grillet, Christine Brooke Rose and Wilson Harris.
  • Wilfrid Jarasuriya, Sri Lanka English Writing: A Case Study in Literary Theory and Post Colonial Attitudes. (Since published as Sri Lanka's Modern English Literature: A Case Study in Literary Theory New Delhi: Navrang Editions, 1994.)
  • Sunita Peacock, The Hybrid Language of Anita Desais' Heroines: Finding a Discourse.
  • Paul Pimomo, E.M. Forster and Postcolonialism.