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The reader for instance, gets to know what the Indian comparatists are not doing and not what they have been doing except in a few cases.This is not a comment on the very important article by Anand Balwant Patil on comparative literature in India in the volume, important because of his statement on literary caste politics beginning with the personal, and proceeding to local as well as global place-making (307),but a general statement on gaps of communication that continue to exist even in the globalized interconnected era as far as the voice of the global south is concerned.
She takes up Steve Tomasula’s “multimedia novel” (133) TOC as an example to raise several questions related to what literature in electronic form is and opens up a horizon of thoughts in the area.
Similarly Elke Sturm Trigonakis writes of a new Weltliteratur based on hybrid texts and their historical dimensions in contemporary world literature and her essay may be read as complementing the series that is being brought out under the auspices of the ICLA Committee on Mapping Multilingualism in World Literature by Alfons Knauth in collaboration with other members.
Incidentally, to many practitioners the political project of comparative literature is important - political from a large perspective, as dealing with human rapport in accordance with the definition of the word by Roland Barthes in Mythologiesand this despite the often expressed belief in a few of the essays in this volume that comparative literature with its roots in philology and its philological concerns is necessarily apolitical in nature.
This however, is not the case and the call for comparative literature to go back to philology today, on the part of Edward said for instance, is also made from the vantage point of an understanding of philological concerns as very deeply linked with world-orders.
The point perhaps lies elsewhere, in the question of how an area of dialogue could be generated between work that is being carried out in the so-called global south and the so-called global north and then again, how a genuine core of interest could be created in the so-called global north regarding work in the field in the global south.
Even in this volume for instance, as a reader from the so-called south, there is the lingering sense of an absence despite the varied fare that is offered.he title of the volume Companion to Comparative Literature, World Literatures and Comparative Cultural Studies brings forward a few conjectures – that it will deal with comparative literature, world literatures and comparative cultural studies within the same framework, that it has a particular stand on the debate on world literatures, emphasizing the plural form as it does, and that cultural studies within the framework would necessarily be comparative - and most of the essays do abide by them.Comparatists, particularly from certain parts of the world still feel that despite the path-breaking formulations of David Damrosch and others working in the area of world literature, the focus on world literature would be detrimental to the larger interests of comparative literature by shifting the focus from many other kinds of relational work in the field and also because there lingers in many cases the concept of two different world-orders and notions of and peripheries and their reiteration may reinstate hierarchies.Schmidt’s work, he states, also has affinities with the work of Itamar Evan Zohar, Pierre Bourdieu, Niklas Luhmann and Juri Lotman.While his call for a systemic and contextual approach has much relevance, the case would have been stronger without the denigration of certain important twentieth century schools of thought that struck at the roots of Eurocentrism and opened up various avenues of thought, not the least of them leading to nuanced approaches to all that constitute otherness, an issue that Villanueva advocates has to be taken up with a certain “militant attitude” (59).That the discipline had moved into the global south is a statement made again and again in the last decade or so and an attempt has also been made to corroborate the statement by taking up statistical data regarding, for instance, the number of books published in different places of the world, having or not having the term ‘comparative literature’ in the title during a particular span of time by Tötösy de Zepetnek and Louise O Vasvári – but such statistics need to be studied against the large number of publications generated in the field of literary studies in the last few decades in some of the countries of the global south.Comparative studies in literature had been in existence in many of the countries of the global south for a considerable period of time and there is perhaps a token increase in the number of departments that are focusing just on comparative literature.The models, he suggests, " would probably emerge from a subtle and self-conscious analysis that may deal with literature per se, certain textual features, or even the notion and nature of medium and communication" (96).There is a great deal of caution that he incorporates in his proposal and suggests that a preliminary beginning would have to be cautiously "verified or disproved within larger contexts" (96) - an important statement for comparative projects in constructing models in general.The theoretical section begins with an essay by Dario Villanueva who makes a strong case for the systemic studies approach to comparative cultural studies along with a return to philological and interpretative aspects of literature to bring back meaning at the centre of humanities studies again.In order to make his point he takes to task Derrida, Hillis Miller and others on the one hand for having displaced meaning from the study of literature, and quotes Said on the other, to state that postcolonial studies and cultural studies had brought in their wake a plethora of jargons and hence to clear the space, he argues, it would be necessary to bring in a new comparative cultural studies based on contextual and systemic approaches practiced by Siegfried J Schmidt and others.