Niestabilność komparatystyki

Andrzej Hejmej


Non-stability of comparative literature
The paper focuses on the history and current situation of the discipline of comparative literature, particularly on the condition of comparative studies in literature and comparative cultural studies. A general discussion on comparative literature as ‘indiscipline’ (David Ferris’s concept), based on negative definitions (e.g. Hugo von Meltzl), limitations of comparison and comparability (Paul van Tieghem, René Etiemble, Gayatri Ch. Spivak, Jonathan Culler, Kenneth Reinhard), and individual projects (George Steiner, Daniel-Henri Pageaux, Armando Gnisci, Gayatri Ch. Spivak, Emily Apter, Susan Bassnett), leads to the conclusion that the ‘non-stability’ has been a crucial problem for comparative literature in the course of the last two centuries. Three metaphors are used to describe comparative literature: the Eiffel Tower (the idea of modernity), the World Trade Center (comparative literature as translatio) and the Tower of Babel (translation). In this context, the author argues that modern comparative studies can be defined not as a rigorous intellectual discipline, but rather as a discipline in statu nascendi, as a practice of reading and interpretation.

Słowa kluczowe: comparative studies in literature, comparative cultural studies, modern comparative studies

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