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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.303) 8 Comparisons
Comparing the Literatures

David Damrosch

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains the literary theory that bridge the divides between national traditions in a balanced assessment of similarities and differences called “perspectivism.” It addresses the question of comparability that grew sharper during the 1980s as comparatists began to give more attention to non-Western literatures and struggled to locate their studies along an expanded spectrum. It also analyzes Claudio Guillén's Entre louno y lo diverso, which asserts the necessity of keeping in mind the constant to and fro between the unity sought by human consciousness and the countless historical–spatial differentiations in the field of literature. The chapter looks into an essay by Robert Magliola that asserts a close comparability of sexualized religious iconography in the European Renaissance and in tantric Buddhism. It also talks about Pauline Yu's “Alienation Effects” as a skeptical discussion of the limits of East/West comparability.

Keywords:   literary theory, national traditions, perspectivism, comparability, comparatists, human consciousness, East/West comparability

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