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Across Literary and Linguistic Diversities

Essays on Comparative Literature

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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Das Erinnern und das Schreiben über das Fremde in der Fremde in einem komparatistischen Rahmen. Die Literarische Welt, Erinnerungen


← 142 | 143 → JYOTI SABARWAL

Willy Haas uses a comparative framework to reconstruct his years of exile in India in Die literarische Welt, Erinnerungen, his autobiography published in 1957, by Paul List. This narrative strategy is applied in the text to bridge differences, be it the film aesthetics of the Bombay Cinema of the 1940s vis-à-vis Weimar Cinema, cultural practices or urban Bombay with its imagery of modernity juxtaposed against the traditional. Though the focus of the article is on depicting this autobiography as a source of studying India as a site in exile literature, an attempt has also been made to trace the development of the autobiography as a genre from Wilhelm Dilthey to the post-structuralists. In this context, issues of authorship and authenticity are also raised in context to two other major autobiographies, namely Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s My Experiments with Truth and Aus meinem Leben. Dichtung und Wahrheit by J.W. Goethe.

Heute gibt es Leute, die mich fragen: ,Aber Sie waren doch viel zu jung, um sich an diese schreckliche Zeit erinnern zu können.‘ Oder vielmehr, sie fragen nicht einmal, sie behaupten es mit Bestimmtheit. Ich denke dann, die wollen mir mein Leben nehmen, denn das Leben ist doch nur die verbrachte Zeit, das einzige, was wir haben, das machen sie mir streitig, wenn sie mir das Recht des Erinnerns in Frage stellen.

— RUTH KLÜGER, weiter leben. Eine Jugend

In Willy Haas’ autobiographischem Werk1 wird die Rekonstruktion des...

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