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Comparative Methods in Research

Comparative literature
Comparative Literature strives to "explore rather
than explain, by creation of meta-language.
Linguistic and semantic properties of a set of
texts brought under the microscopic glass to
reveal the implicit, profound circumstances
under which the text is produced and received.
The historicity of the text, along with the context
and non-textual contributors in its making.
Language does not suffice.?
Raising questions and trying to answer those!
Beyond all coverage area
Theory versus testing
Abstract versus concrete
General versus historical
Idea versus application
Comparative Method in Literary Research

Comparative approach includes the whole study of the whole of

literature as far as ones mind and life can stretch. By its very
scope Comparative methods aim at a presumptuous study.
Lowry Nelson(1988)
The premises and protocols characteristic of comparative
studies are now the daily currency of coursework,
publishing, hiring, and coffee-shop discussion. The
transnational dimension of literature and culture is
universally recognized even by the specialists who not long
ago suspected comparativists of dilettantism. ..
Comparative teaching and reading take institutional form in
an ever-lengthening list of places. Comparative literature
now is the first violin that sets the tone for the rest of
the orchestra. Our conclusions have become other peoples
assumptions. Haun Saussy, (2006)
Comparative approach
Comparability is the laboratory or workshop of literary studies, and
through them, of the humanities. Comparative literature compares
literatures, not only as accumulations of primary works, but as the
languages, cultures, histories, traditions, theories, and practices with
which those works come. Roland Greene,
A more transnational, interdisciplinary, and responsive humanities is, I
believe, poised to emerge. Underscoring the importance of language,
literature, and culture, it can help us better explore our past
imaginations of the human condition and engage more fully with the
wide range of arts and traditions that now imagine the world in such
diverse and sometimes surprising ways.
Firmly embraced and energetically taught, such a humanities may well
contribute to a new sort of global consciousness, one that would bring a
keener sensitivity to the languages, cultures, and peoples of our polyglot
planet and begin to draw us all into a broader, more responsive
Comparative literature
It is only by way of comparison that we know the
truth precisely. . . . All knowledge which is not
obtained through the simple and pure intuition
of an isolated thing is obtained by the
comparison of two or more things among
themselves. And almost all the work of human
reason consists without doubt in making this
operation possible. Descartes
A rigorous definition of comparative literature
should always include the study of texts across
languages; this multilingual aspect can only
become more crucial to distinguishing
comparative literature as national literature
departments also develop greater emphases on
postcolonial and interdisciplinary studies.
Comparative literature
Ernst Robert Curtius, EuropeanLiteratureandtheLatinMiddle
Ages(1953)(written at the end of the Second World War) In
principle, the discipline of Comparative Literature is in toto a
method in the study of literature in at least two ways. First,
Comparative Literatures means the knowledge of more than one
national language and literature, and/or it means the knowledge
and application of other disciplines in and for the study of
literature and second, Comparative Literature has an ideology of
inclusion of the Other, be that a marginal literature in its several
meanings of marginality, a genre, various text types, etc. []
Comparative Literature has intrinsically a content and form,
which facilitate the cross-cultural and interdisciplinary study of
literature and it has a history that substantiated this content and
form. Predicated on the borrowing of methods from other
disciplines and on the application of the appropriated method to
areas of study single-language literary study more often than
tends to neglect, the discipline is difficult to define because thus
it is fragmented and pluralistic. Steven Ttsy de Zepetnek,
Comparative literature
"Any two texts can be compared, but a comparison works when
there is a sufficient basis for comparison; that is, a strong number
of similarities, which allow us to isolate particular striking,
revealing, informing, epiphanic and ultimately untranslatable
differences. These untranslatable differences which are the
product of language, culture, history and environment as well as
the semi-autonomous evolution of art forms and the talents and
experiences of individual artists invariably pronounce themselves
in what is called style." Gregory Reid, "A Prolegomenon to
Comparative Drama in Canada : In Defense of Binary Studies"
"I stopped believing that 'theory' had the power to ruin literature
for anyone, or that it was possible to compromise something you
loved by studying it. Was love really such a tenuous thing? Wasn't
the point of love that it made you want to learn more, to immerse
yourself, to become possessed?" Elif Batuman, The
ReadThem (2010)
Finally Comparison means what ?
Comparison as
an act of Perception
a comment
a competitive judgment
a unifying principle
a discriminating bias
a distinguishing merit
a discipline for study
a discovery of new/newly found combinations
a theorizing attempt at clarity /improvement