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JournalISSN: 0195-7678

The Comparatist 

University of North Carolina Press
About: The Comparatist is an academic journal published by University of North Carolina Press. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Comparative literature & Literary criticism. It has an ISSN identifier of 0195-7678. Over the lifetime, 405 publications have been published receiving 1275 citations. The journal is also known as: Comparatist.

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TL;DR: The Western Canon as mentioned in this paper is a book about the formation of the Western Canon and its evolution over the last hundred years, with a focus on the "culture wars" that have been shaking the academic literary establishment.
Abstract: Harold Bloom was once considered something ofan enfant terrible in English studies for his theories in The Anxiety ofInfluence and even for his recent speculations in The Book ofJ. But now, both by the affirmative nature ofhis book title (The Western Canon) and by its marketing for trade rather than for a scholarly audience, he seems to place himself in the company of the late Allan Bloom and of E. D. Hirsch, who adopted similar strategies when they published, respectively, The Closing ofthe American Mind and Cultural Literacy in 1987. Although Harold Bloom does not mention these two predecessors, he is clearly responding to the same perceived crisis in education and to the \"culture wars\" that have been shaking the academic literary establishment for several years now. Most academics have in fact grown rather tired of the subject. Bloom himself claims to be uninterested in \"mimic cultural wars\" (1) and adopts a strategy of referring to his opponents with dismissive remarks throughout rather than addressing their arguments directly. It would seem that by casting his net to a wider audience, Bloom hopes to win battles by garnering fresh and more numerous troops. It is true that certain fundamental questions have never really been answered, and that Bloom does not hesitate to take them on and to give his own answers to them. Given the fact that we can only devote a certain amount ofour brief lifetimes to reading, what should we read and why? Similarly, in the profession of teaching literature, what books shall we teach—or pass on as valuable to the next generation\"—and why? Are there universal aesthetic standards by which we can judge literary greatness? As suggested in Robert Scholes's excellent survey \"Canonicity and Textuality\" (Introduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages andLiteratures, ed. Joseph Gibaldi, 2nd ed. [New York: MLA, 1992], pp. 138-58), much recent writing on canons chooses not to answer these questions directly, proposing instead ever more sophisticated approaches to and questions about the notion of canonicity and canon formation. By historicizing the formation of the meaning ofwords such as \"canon\" and \"literature,\" by pointing out their alliance with social forces and ideologies, and by opposing to their hierarchical status the fluid, semiotic construction of\"texts,\" such writers would either greatly extend the field ofthe canon or do away with it altogether. Bloom, on the other hand, does not spend any time on definitions and etymologies; \"canonical,\" he states on the first page, means both \"authoritative in our culture\" and having \"aesthetic value.\" Although he would not claim that the list he gives is exhaustive (a much longer one appears in the appendix), he then proceeds to discuss 26 authors (the author here, in opposition to Roland Barthes and followers, is far from dead, but more alive than we as readers are) and to tell us why we should read their works. Bloom prefaces his enquiry by lumping together some major schools of modern criticism, such as feminism, Marxism, and New Historicism, under the rubric of \"The School of Resentment.\" He also positions himself in opposition to what he calls the right wing of criticism, those who claim that the western canon

74 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Intertextuality, which has occasionally been used somewhat blithely to designate interdisciplinary and comparative investigations of various sorts, may, in its theorization and historicization, not be blithe at all as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Intertextuality, which has occasionally been used somewhat blithely to designate interdisciplinary and comparative investigations of various sorts, may, in its theorization and historicization, not be blithe at all. That is, we may not agree on its meaning. Most critics agree that the term was coined in the late 1960s by Julia Kristeva, who combined ideas from Bakhtin on the social context of language with Saussure's positing of the systematic features of language. (1) Kristeva's definition, in her essay "Word, Dialogue and Novel," reads: intertextuality is "a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another. The notion of intertextuality replaces that of intersubjectivity, and poetic language is read as at least double" (Kristeva 85, cited in Moi 37). (2) Kristeva's work on intertextuality in the late sixties coincided with the transition from structuralism to poststructuralism. Graham Allen describes this move as "one in which assertions of objectivity, scientific rigour, methodological stability and other highly rationalistic-sounding terms are replaced by an emphasis on uncertainty, indeterminacy, incommunicability, subjectivity, desire, pleasure and play" (3). This uncertainty undercut authorial intention and allowed Roland Barthes to proclaim the liberation of the reader 'from the traditional power and authority of the figure of the 'author,' who was now 'dead'" (Allen 4). The foregoing constitutes a seriously abbreviated history of the term intertextuality, but the bottom line is its current association with postmodernism, which in turn, is associated with "pastiches, imitation and the mixing of already established styles and practices" (Allen 5). Intertextuality gains definitional specificity by comparison with "other globalizing and rival terms for cultural recycling such as 'interdiscursivity,' 'interdisciplinarity' and 'hypertext'" (Orr 7). Also potentially in the mix is the term intermediality, which leapfrogs altogether the necessity of a text--explicit or implicit--a characteristic that separates it clearly from intertextuality. Graham Allen writes that "[ijntertextuality seems such a useful term because it foregrounds notions of relationality, interconnectedness and interdependence in modern cultural life" (5). Mary Orr adds: "By highlighting unvoiced modes of intertextual work in other guises--paraphrase, formulaic expression, variant, recontextualization, translation--various tacit critical agendas behind intertextuality's representations become visible. Among intertextuality's most practical functions is (re-) evaluation by means of comparison, counter-position and contrast" (7). The "tacit critical agendas," to which Orr refers, would include a challenge to the cultural hegemony of originality or uniqueness over reproduction/ copy (Allen 6). Finally, intertextuality has been appropriated and adapted by nonliterary art forms so that it is not--despite the embedded word "text"--exclusively related to works of literature or other written texts, including virtual texts. And it has a critical function: intertextuality, like influence or imitation, is not neutral and thus hints at its underlying socio-political importance. The essays grouped together here were originally presented in a seminar at the 2010 ACLA meeting in New Orleans entitled "Intertextualities: Text, Image, and Beyond." The seminar had a dual focus: an exploration of the various manifestations of intertextuality along a continuum ranging from influence to plagiarism and equally a theoretical investigation of the continuum itself. The interests represented in these essays are widely varied and include the interplay of a text and (seemingly unrelated) photos; an ekphrastic commentary on a painting, both of which are treated in a poem; an overview of iconoclastic tendencies in the graphic novel; and a close reading of an innovative graphic novel, which, at first glance, seems highly unsuited thematically to the genre. …

29 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The concept of inbetween peripheraUty is applicable to a number of postcolonial Uterary and cultural situations, including (East) Central European literatures as well as ethnic, diasporic, or other instances of marginalized literatures as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: This article wul suggest the relevance ofa theoretical framework designated as "inbetween peripheraUty" for current debates about postcoloniaUty, national identity, and post-Cold War narratives. The problematic nature ofpostcolonial theory, culture, and literature suggests that it may be advantageous to extend the question beyond the usual British, French, or American mainstream focus, its historical or contemporary spheres ofinfluence, and its concern with direct colonization. It will be argued that the concept of inbetween peripheraUty is applicable to a number ofpostcolonial Uterary and cultural situations, including (East) Central European literatures as well as ethnic, diasporic, or other instances of marginalized literatures. FoUowing the postulates of this theoretical framework as outlined below, the present article wiU Alustrate its applicability to contemporary (East) Central European Uterature. The analysis ofselected texts bythree contemporary authors ofthe region—the Hungarians Endre KukoreUy and Peter Esterhazy, and the Romanian Mircea Cartarescu—is an attempt to place these writings in the context ofsocial, cultural, and literary discourses in the specific time and space from which they emanated. The time and space I refer to is that of(East) Central Europe, a space and location of"inbetween peripheraUty," by which I mean both inbetweenness (the locus between centers of power, economic and cultural) and peripheraUty on the European landscape (history, culture, poUtics, etc.). Further, it wul be argued that the region's literatures in the last two decades—that is, from shortly before and after the changes of 1989 and the demise ofthe Soviet empire —manifest a specific "narrative ofchange." My contextual—or, in other words, "text in context"—analysis rests on the theoretical and methodological premises of the systemic and empirical approach to Uterature and culture (see, for example, Schmidt; Totosy "Comparative Literature," 'Text in Context," Comparative Literature). This approach has been based mainly in Europe (among German, Dutch, and French scholars) and is little known in North American Uterary scholarship, except in the related areas ofcognitive psychology and research into the reading process. Nevertheless, some scholars upon whose work the approach is based, such as Niklas Luhmann, Pierre Bourdieu, Jacques Dubois, and Siegfried J. Schmidt, have recently awakened some interest amongNorthAmerican scholars ofUterature and culture (for the large corpus ofworks in the approach see Totosy "Bibliography"). In particular, the work of Bourdieu and Luhmann has slowly

18 citations

No. of papers from the Journal in previous years