Historicizing Comparative Literature in the Postcolonial Era

Constantin Sonkwé Tayim


This paper brings up the history of comparative literature from its beginning to the postcolonial era, discussing the challenges and controversies that have shaped the history of the discipline and practice. Drawing mainly upon Edward Said’s thought, but also other prominent theorists, the paper sketches the evolution of the concept of comparative literature on the one hand, and on the other hand, it shows through some recent examples of transnational and transcultural questions, how difficult it is in the contemporary context of Globalization to preserve the nation as a space and concept of reference for the writing of the history of literature, due to the very fact of the transformation of the nation and its contours in recent decades. It is also about showing that despite the circulation of worlds and the challenge of the nation’s rigid borders by the process of migration among others, the nation is not yet disqualified as a framework and substructure for literary production. It further discusses the relationship between literature and nation in the contemporary context as well as the issues of transnationality and world literariness, using two examples from France and Nigeria.


Comparative literature, World Literature, National Literature, France, Nigeria postcolonialism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijclts.v.8n.4p.28


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