‘Interliterariness’ and Comparative Literature: Romantic Poetics, Systemic Approach, and Humanistic Ideals

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Yingyu Zhang


Interliterariness, as a concept in the field of Comparative Literature, is characterized by the Slovak comparatist Dionýz Durišin as ‘the basic and essential quality’ of literature involved in the interliterary process. Due to Durišin’s versatile employment of theoretical sources and its geo-political implications, the concept has not received its deserved attention and is limited in application, as is pointed by Marián Gálik, among other scholars. This essay is at an attempt to shed some light on the potential of the concept of ‘interliterariness’ in envisaging a future of Comparative Literature as a discipline, in face of its perpetual crisis. In doing so, the essay is not confined to Durišin’s own interpretation, but rather relates the concept and its implications to the early stage of Comparative Literature, originated in Romanticism, and tries to seek its contemporary resonances and affinities with theoretical configurations of other comparatists, including Claudio Guillen, Franco Moretti, and Jonathan Culler. It is also mentioned in this essay why ‘interliterariness’ is proposed as a viable concept more suitable for defining the object of Comparative Literature, instead of substituting the latter for a study of intertextuality. 

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Futures for Comparative Literary Research