A critical overview of Tobias Barreto´s Outline of Comparative Literature (1877) and Hutcheson Macauley Posnett Comparative Literature (1886) please acknowledge receipt

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José Luís Jobim


The connection between nationalism and cosmopolitanism existed in the very disciplinary origins of comparatism. As we know, even the first periodical dedicated to Comparative Literature, the Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universarum, founded in Hungary in 1877 by Hugo Meltzl and Samuel Brassai, was seen locally as a vehicle to disseminate Hungarian national literature abroad, and not as a vehicle for transnational comparatism (Levente; Codău). Its editors, in 1878, responded to the accusation of “foreignism” by stating that ACLU was, ultimately, a Hungarian periodical that emphasised content for the readers of Hungary. Alexander Beecroft (2019) has already used Meltzl as an example, saying that the comparative literature project began in the peripheries, perhaps because inhabitants of peripheral or provincial cultures are forced to think comparatively (at least with regard to dominant cultures), while members of dominant cultures can more easily treat their cultures in isolation. In addition to Meltzl, Beecroft cites Hutcheson Macauley Posnett, Professor of Classics and English Literature at the University of Auckland and the author of Comparative Literature (1886), because both worked “on the peripheries of the Eurosphere”. We could add to the list Tobias Barreto (1839 – 1889), the Brazilian author of Outline of Comparative Literature in the 19th Century (Traços de literatura comparada do século XIX, 1877). This paper will contribute to the insertion of Barreto in the history of 19th Century comparatism.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Colonial, Postcolonial, Decolonial and Neocolonial Experiences:Rewriting Culture