Read e-book online A Companion to Comparative Literature PDF

By Ali Behdad, Dominic Thomas

A significant other to Comparative Literature offers a set of greater than thirty unique essays from verified and rising students, which discover the background, present country, and way forward for comparative literature.
• gains over thirty unique essays from prime foreign participants
• offers a serious review of the prestige of literary and cross-cultural inquiry
• Addresses the background, present country, and way forward for comparative literature
• Chapters tackle such issues because the courting among translation and transnationalism, literary thought and rising media, the way forward for nationwide literatures in an period of globalization, gender and cultural formation throughout time, East-West cultural encounters, postcolonial and diaspora stories, and different experimental ways to literature and tradition.

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1 That Comparative Literature has lacked the discipline to avoid repeating itself in this recurrent exercise is an effect of what I referred to as its indiscipline. While this word could be taken up as embodying what many see as a positive attribute of the field – its lack of definition – it was used to indicate quite the opposite: a lack of definition is actually a limitation not an unbounded horizon. This is nowhere more present than in Comparative Literature’s pursuit of the world as a place of boundless promise when in fact that pursuit is only a more extensive expression of an imprecise methodological task, namely, comparison, that is present across the humanities at large but whose effects are concentrated to an extraordinary degree within Comparative Literature.

As may be surmised in the remarks Auerbach made in response to the early critics of Mimesis who complained that he had been unfair in his treatment of the Greeks, there is a strong sense of ethical purpose on his part. “I considered for a moment letting the Homer chapter fall entirely by the wayside,” he wrote. “For my purposes it would have sufficed to begin with the time around the birth of Christ” (Auerbach, 2003: p. 560). It is quite clear to me with what great justification, for example, early Christianity can be regarded as the product of late antiquity […] But the task that my theme imposed on me was a different one: I had to show not the transition but rather the complete change.

Edited by Ali Behdad and Dominic Thomas. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Published 2011 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Why Compare? 29 that it is Comparative Literature’s gift to be able to recognize this limit even if it should repeatedly succumb to it. This double aspect and its relation to the current situation of the humanities, their sense of crisis and loss of value, is what underpins this return to the question of Comparative Literature’s indiscipline. The relation between this indiscipline and the current sense of crisis in the humanities is the subject of this chapter.

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