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Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction



Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction

Susan Bassnett

ISBN: 978-0-631-16705-1 October 1993 Wiley-Blackwell 192 Pages


This major new introduction to comparative literature is for the students coming to the subject for the first time. Through an examination of a series of case studies and new theoretical developments, Bassnett reviews the current state of comparative literature world-wide in the 1990s. In the past twenty years of a range of new developments in critical theory have changed patterns of reading and approaches to literature: gender-based criticism, reception studies, the growth of translation studies, deconstruction and orientalism all have had a profound impact on work in comparative literature.

Bassnett asks questions not only about the current state of comparative literature as a discipline, but also about its future. Since its beginnings in the nineteenth century, comparative literature has been closely associated with the emergence of national cultures, and its present expansion in many parts of the world indicates that this process is again underway, after a period of narrowly Eurocentric research in the field.


Introduction: What is Comparative Literature Today?.

1. How Comparative Literature came into Being.

2. Beyond Frontiers of Europe: Alternative Concepts of Comparative Literature.

3. Comparing the Literatures of the British Isles.

4. Comparative Identities in the Post-Colonial World.

5. Constructing Cultures: the Politics of Travellers' Tales.

6. Gender and Thematics: the Case of Guinevere.

7. From Comparative Literature to Translation Studies.


Select Bibliography.


"This book is an often insightful and provocative." Journal of Caribbean Studies