Caroline D. Eckhardt

Caroline D. Eckhardt

Smeal Chair in Literary Theory and Comparative Criticism and Professor of Comparative Literature and English
440 Burrowes Bldg.
(814) 863-4931
Caroline D. Eckhardt

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1971
M.A. Indiana University (Bloomington), 1965
B.A. Drew University, 1963

Professional Bio

My scholarly interests in comparative literature began in undergraduate school, with twentieth-century European literature, and then moved backwards in time, with master's work on the early modern period and then doctoral work in the medieval period (if there had been one more degree to go, I would probably have become a classicist). Along the way I have always been interested in the ways in which texts have been preserved and circulated, and especially in how medieval manuscripts were made and used.  I have written on medieval chronicles, Chaucer, Provençal (Occitan) poetry, number symbolism, Arthurian tradition, comedy, and romances, and have had the pleasure of editing a fourteenth-century Middle English chronicle (Castleford's Chronicle, or, The Boke of Brut), which is about a thousand pages long and offers a fascinating combination of history, legend, folktale, prophecy, and oddments of many sorts, including accounts of two imaginary medieval universities. A current interest is the theory and praxis of teaching world literature.  I've also done a lot of academic administration; I was the founding department head of Penn State's Department of Comparative Literature, and am currently the director of Penn State's School of Languages and Literatures.



  • Medieval Literature
  • Book History
  • Teaching world literature