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Christopher Bolton

Title and Affiliation

Professor of Comparative and Japanese Literature
Comparative Literature Program
Williams College

Contact Information

Mailing Address 85 Mission Park Drive, Williamstown, MA 01267
Office Hollander Hall 310
January 2018 Office Hours By appointment
Office Tel. 413-597-2513
Email cbolton @

Professional Information

I teach comparative and Japanese literature at Williams College, where I have an appointment in the Comparative Literature Program.


My research focuses on modern and contemporary Japanese literature and visual culture, particularly prose fiction and animation. My undergraduate training was in the sciences, and I am interested in the intersection and interaction between science and literature, especially the fuzzy boundaries of what we call literature and the ways that technology prompts us to rethink those boundaries. This includes the changing ways aesthetic theories have defined and delineated literature and criticism across times and cultures, the status of adaptations and reproductions vis-à-vis "original" works in postmodern culture, and the relationship between writing and visual media.

Book Projects

My books include Interpreting Anime (2018), and Sublime Voices, on the interplay between science and fiction in the work of the Japanese avant-garde writer Abe Kōbō (2009). I have also co-edited many volumes of criticism focused on anime and Japanese popular culture: Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime (2007), and ten volumes of the Mechademia series, for work on Japanese anime, manga, and the fan arts (2006-2015).


My courses include a range of Japanese literature courses in translation, as well as classes on comparative literature and literary theory. In 2017-18 I am teaching a tutorial on postmodernism and a seminar on theories of the sublime, plus Japanese literature courses centered on "Confession and Deception" and "Love and Death."


I am exploring visual and digital media not only as objects of analysis but also as vehicles for my own critical work and teaching. My efforts so far have included a virtual art museum inside the multi-user online world of Second Life, and a short animated film introducing concepts in poststructuralist literary theory.

Japanese Mac

A popular part of this site is "Japanese for Your Mac," which has information about working with Japanese on a Macintosh.