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Across Literary and Linguistic Diversities

Essays on Comparative Literature

Edited By Goethe Society of India, Madhu Sahni and Mazumdar Shaswati

Comparative literary studies face new challenges today in a world marked by the migration of people, languages, ideas and texts across diverse and increasingly porous borders. The field is restricted by conventional notions of comparativism born in the era of nationalism and colonialism. However, scholars are now provoked to rethink these notions as a result of the social, economic and political forces that drive the contemporary world, which simultaneously draw it into an ever tighter global network and create new, or reassert persisting, lines of division.
What are the conceptual and methodological questions that must engage our attention if comparativism, as recent debates suggest, has to revive its critical potential and chart afresh the future of literary studies? The essays in this volume attempt to rethink comparison in this context through theoretical reflections and concrete comparative analyses. They investigate similarities and differences, connections and references, across diverse literary and linguistic cultures in Indian, German and other European literatures.
This volume is the 2014 Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India.
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‘World Literature’ and the methodology of Comparative Literature: An analysis

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← 84 | 85 → SOMA MUKHERJEE

Der goethesche Begriff Weltliteratur hat zwar im Laufe der Zeit zahlreiche Paradigmenwechsel erfahren, doch im Kontext des wissenschaftlichen Ansatzes der Komparatistik bleibt er von grundlegender Bedeutung. In diesem Paper wird der Versuch unternommen, die unterschiedlichen Konzepte darzustellen, anhand derer Literaten und Kritiker wie Goethe, Meltzel, Brandes, Auerbach, Moretti die Definitionen von Weltliteratur analysiert und begrifflich gefasst haben. Diese Darstellungen sollen klären, in welcher Form die konzeptionelle Kategorisierung von Weltliteratur die verschiedenen Aspekte komparatistischer Methoden beleuchtet, wie etwa das Übersetzen, literarische Austauschprozesse etc. Um zu verstehen, welche Bedeutung der Idee der Weltliteratur in den indischen Literaturen zukommt, untersucht das vorliegende Paper auch das Konzept der von Rabindranath Tagore vertretenen Visva-Sahitya und den Einfluss, den all diese Diskurse und Strukturen auf die Komparatistik ausüben.

In contemporary times, Comparative Literature is recognized as a discipline which talks about a definite method with which to study literature. For a proper understanding of Comparative Literature, exploring a few ideas and definitions of ‘General Literature’, ‘National Literature’, ‘World Literature’ is crucial. But if we try to look at all these ideas, we realize that all of them have gone through certain paradigmatic shifts. Among these ideas, the most talked about term is ‘World Literature’, which was famous for its usage by Goethe. If we do a survey of Goethe’s ideas about World Literature, there are places and occasions when he mentioned World Literature and also discussed the idea in detail. I am going to refer to...

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