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Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek

Comparative Literature
Theory, Method, Application

Vol. 18 of Textxet: Studies in Comparative Literature
Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi.
ISBN 90-420-0534-3. 299 pages, Bibliography, Index.
Available in December 1998, Hfl. 90.00 / US$ 49.50
E-mail for orders: orders-queries@rodopi.nl


Acknowledgements 9
Toward a New Comparative Literature: A Preface
By F. Elizabeth Dahab 11
A New Comparative Literature as Theory and Method 13
Literature and Cultural Participation 43
Comparative Literature as/and Interdisciplinarity 79
Cultures, Peripheralities, and Comparative Literature 121
Women's Literature and Men Writing about Women 173
The Study of Translation and Comparative Literature 215
The Study of Literature and the Electronic Age 249

Conclusion 260

Works Cited 263

Index 291

About the Author

Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek is associate director of the Research Institute for Comparative Literature and adjunct professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta. His scholarly interest is Comparative Literature in literary and critical theory, cultural participation and readership, modern and contemporary North American and European fiction, ethnic minority and exile writing, translation studies, film and literature, etc., as well as history, and he has published widely in these areas on both sides of the Atlantic. He served as associate editor and desk-top publisher the Canadian Review of Comparative Literature / Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée 1989 to 1997 as well as edited a dozen collected volumes in literary and cultural study. Active on the international scene of literary scholarship as executive member of learned associations and as advisory board member of scholarly journals, he is now working among other projects on an intellectual and institutional history of the discipline of Comparative Literature. He is editor of a new electronic journal, CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture: A WWWeb Journal

From the “Preface” by F. Elizabeth Dahab
California State University at Long Beach

Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek's new book, Comparative Literature: Theory, Method, Application, is not only wide ranging with a mass of information, it is state of the art Comparative Literature, and it will also serve as a much needed textbook -- one which combines breadth of scholarship and ample attention to detail; a work that takes into consideration the socio-cultural dimensions of literature and literary study without enrobing them solely in ideological constructs. Here, the attentive reader can find a broad spectrum of "applications" drawn from sociological, psycho-cultural, anthropological, and historical reflections. The "New" Comparative Literature the author harbors is expertly nested in the framework of The Systemic and Empirical Approach to Literature and Culture, in view of the applicability of such an approach to textual, cultural, literary, and para-literary questions, areas, and problems. ... Professor Tötösy's "Manifesto" of Comparative Literature and the principles it expounds will serve as a guide to students and teachers alike, weary of confusing medleys of rival ideological positions. ... Last but not least, it is worth pointing out the voluminous bibliography of the book: over six hundred works cited, which not only demonstrates the author's erudition but which makes this book of and for a New Comparative Literature a lasting treasure of the discipline.


This book serves several purposes, all very much needed in today's embattled situation of the humanities and the study of literature. First, in Chapter One, the author proposes that the discipline of Comparative Literature is a most advantageous approach for the study of literature and culture as it is a priori a discipline of cross-disciplinarity and of international dimensions. After a "Manifesto" for a New Comparative Literature, he proceeds to offer several related theoretical frameworks as a composite method for the study of literature and culture he designates and explicates as the "systemic and empirical approach." Following the introduction of the proposed New Comparative Literature, the author applies his method to a wide variety of literary and cultural areas of inquiry such as "Literature and Cultural Participation" where he discusses several aspects of reading and readership (Chapter Two), "Comparative Literature as/and Interdisciplinarity" (Chapter Three) where he deals with theory and application for film and literature and medicine and literature, "Cultures, Peripheralities, and Comparative Literature" (Chapter Four) where he proposes a theoretical designation he terms "inbetween peripherality" for the study of East Central European literatures and cultures as well as ethnic minority writing, "Women's Literature and Men Writing about Women" (Chapter Five) where he analyses texts written by women and texts about women written by men in the theoretical context of Ethical Constructivism, "The Study of Translation and Comparative Literature" (Chapter Six) where after a theoretical introduction he presents a new version of Anton Popovic's dictionary for literary translation as a taxonomy for the study of translation, and "The Study of Literature and the Electronic Age" (Chapter Seven), where he discusses the impact of new technologies on the study of literature and culture. The analyses in their various applications of the proposed New Comparative Literature involve modern and contemporary authors and their works such as Dorothy Richardson, Margit Kaffka, Mircea Cartarescu, Robert Musil, Alfred Döblin, Hermann Hesse, Péter Esterházy, Dezso Kosztolányi, Michael Ondaatje, Endre Kukorelly, Else Seel, and others.