Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-5nwft Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-28T21:32:06.183Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Comparative Literature?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


What is comparative literature? Not a theory or a methodology, certainly (which raises the question of why this article should appear in a series so entitled), though theories and methodologies aplenty occur as part of its typical business. Is there, or can there be, an object of knowledge identifiable as “comparative literature”?

When I began hearing about comparative literature in the middle 1970s, there was a fairly straightforward means of distinguishing comparative literature on the university campuses where it was done. The English department pursued knowledge of language and literature in one language; the foreign language departments pursued similar studies in two languages (typically English, assumed to be most students' native language, plus the foreign tongue); and comparative literature committees, programs, or departments carried out literary analysis in at least three languages at once.

Theories and Methodologies
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2003

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Works Cited

Aristotle. “Parts of Animals.” The Complete Works of Aristotle. Ed. Barnes, Jonathan. Vol. 1. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1984. 9941086.Google Scholar
Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Trans. Willard R. Trask. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1953.Google Scholar
Chadwick, H. Munro, and Kershaw Chadwick, N. The Growth of Literature. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1932–40.Google Scholar
Curtius, Ernst Robert. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Trans. Willard R. Trask. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1948.Google Scholar
Gilles, Deleuze, and Guattari, Félix. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1987.Google Scholar
de Man, Paul. Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust. New Haven: Ya le UP, 1979.Google Scholar
Frazer, James George. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. Abr. ed. New York: Macmillan, 1951.Google Scholar
Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jakobson, Roman. “Linguistics and Poetics.” Style in Language. Ed. Sebeok, Thomas A. Cambridge: MIT P, 1960. 350–77.Google Scholar
Lerer, Seth, ed. Literary History and the Challenge of Philology: The Legacy of Erich Auerbach. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1996.Google Scholar
Luhmann, Niklas. Essays on Self-Reference. New York: Columbia UP, 1990.Google Scholar
György, Lukács. Studies in European Realism. New York: Grosset, 1964.Google Scholar
Maine, Henry Sumner. Ancient Law. London: Murray, 1861.Google Scholar
Karl, Marx, and Engels, Friedrich. Manifesto of the Communist Party. Selected Works in One Volume. New York: Intl., 1968. 3563.Google Scholar
Menocal, María Rosa. Shards of Love: Exile and the Origins of the Lyric. Durham: Duke UP, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morgan, Henry Lewis. Ancient Society. New York: World, 1877.Google Scholar
Peirce, Charles Sanders. Values in a Universe of Chance: Selected Writings of Charles Sanders Peirce. Ed. Wiener, Philip P. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1958.Google Scholar
Qian, Zhongshu. Guan zhui bian [Essays of the Pipe and Awl]. 4 vols. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979.Google Scholar
Qian, Zhongshu. Limited Views: Essays on Ideas and Letters. Trans. Ronald Egan. Cambridge: Harvard U Asia Center, 1998.Google Scholar
Ransom, John Crowe. Beating the Bushes: Selected Essays 1941–1970. New York: New Directions, 1972.Google Scholar
Schulz, Hans-Joachim, and Rhein, Phillip H., eds. Comparative Literature, the Early Years: A Collection of Essays. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1973.Google Scholar
Spitzer, Leo. Essays in Historical Semantics. New York: Vanni, 1947.Google Scholar
Spitzer, Leo. Linguistics and Literary History: Essays in Stylistics. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1948.Google Scholar
Surveying.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1964 ed.Google Scholar