2. Why Compare?
humanism, literary criticism
Indiscipline, je penseàvous In an essay written for the most recent of the American Comparative Literature Association's (A.C.L.A.) ten year reports on the discipline, I addressed the nature of this Association's recurring series of reports as embodying a logic of indiscipline that afflicts not only this field of study but also, more generally, the humanities (Ferris). I fully intended not to return to the subject since it seemed to me then that this logic had become so entrenched that Comparative Literature was no longer capable of discerning the questions posed by its critical practice. As a result, I predicted then, and still hold to this prediction, that the A.C.L.A.'s habit of examining the state of “discipline” could only repeat the same result like a most forlorn Odysseus destined to embark every ten years or so on a new adventure to burn some other Troy into the past one more time. The heroic achievements of these reports have now left in their wake Greece, Europe, multiculturalism, and soon the world and its globe, and all in the interest of connecting Comparative Literature to the prevailing object of contemporary critical emphasis. That Comparative Literature has lacked the discipline to avoid repeating itself in this recurrent exercise is an effect of what I referred to as its indiscipline . While this word could be taken up as embodying what many see as a positive ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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