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Comparing the LiteraturesLiterary Studies in a Global Age$
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David Damrosch

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134994

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134994.001.0001

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(p.207) 6 Literatures
Comparing the Literatures

David Damrosch

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the assemblage of works that make up a literary culture, including its canon and historical tradition. It describes how comparatists often had an uneasy relation to national literatures due to their ideological opposition to nationalism or impatience with the parochialism of national traditions. It also explains how national literatures remain a major force in a transnational age. The chapter discusses Albert Guérard's article entitled “Comparative Literature?” from 1958, which shows a classic expression of impatience with the very idea of comparing national literatures. It also analyzes Guérard's prediction on the disappearance of comparative literature through an analogy of Europe's impending economic unification.

Keywords:   literary culture, comparatists, national literatures, parochialism, transnational age, nationalism

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