Literary Comparison: Theories and Practices

Home/ Literary Comparison: Theories and Practices
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSOL2CL1134

Semester and Year Offered:Winter Semester 2019

Course Coordinator and Team:Sandeep R. Singh(Team: Awadhesh K. Tripathi and Shad Naved)

Email of course


Course Objectives/Description:
It is a foundational course for students of CLTS envisaged with an idea to give students the nuts and bolts of how to engage in a comparatist framework. This will be done through the seminal theories that offer an explication of the necessity of a comparatist mode of literary engagement. The course will also encourage students to participate in the practice of working as comparatists in a multilingual frame.

Course Outcomes:
On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Provide a basic idea of the field of Comparative Literature in India.
  2. Identity key areas and concepts of the subject.
  3. Demonstrate the ways in which language, culture and local historiesunderline textual production.
  4. Use close-reading techniques within a comparatist framework for textual analysis.
  5. Apply research and analytical skills to a diverse range of texts for assessment tasks and presentations.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

\Module 1. Working as Comparatists
In this module students will be encouraged to pick up two texts in order to engage in the practice of comparison. The suggested areas of comparison could be Bhakti readings, lyric, early Indian novel, English in India and minority voices.

Module 2. Trends in Comparison
The module aims at introducing the students of the basis of a comparatist approach to literature and what such analysis offers to the reading of texts.

Module 3. Genealogies of Comparative Literature
The modules will look at tracing the field of Comparative Literature through the varied ways in which literary enquiry has been imbued with comparatist methods.

Module 4. Issues in Literary Comparison in India
This modules in specific will look at readings that draw our attention to the issues of comparison in an Indian context given diversities of language, dialect, script and identity positions.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Class participation (this may include quiz/test/presentation) 20%
  • Mid-term assignment: 40%
  • Term paper (including submission of abstract and approval of first draft) 40% [This may be a research paper or a project plus a short introduction to it.]

Reading List:

Module 1. Working as Comparatists
Areas of investigation
a. Language
Shukla, Ramchandra. Extracts from Hindi SahityakaIthihaas. New Delhi: Prabhat Publications. 2016. Print.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Task of the Translator” Illuminations. Trans. Harry Zohn. Ed. Hannah Arendt. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968. 69-82. Print.
b. Lyric
Pritchett, Frances W. Selections from “Part II: Flowers on the Branch of Invention” Nets of Awareness: Urdu Poetry and Its Critics. University of California Press, 1994. 61-123
c. Bhakti
Wakankar, Milind. “Miracle and Violence: the allegorical turn in Kabir, Dnyaneswara and Tukaram” Subalternity and Religion: The Prehistory of Dalit Empowerment in South Asia. Routledge, 2010. 147-170. Print.
d. Early novels
Mukherjee, Meenakshi. Selections from The Perishable Empire: Essays on Indian Writing in English. Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.
Kumar, Udaya. Selections from Writing the First Person: Literature, History and Autobiography in Modern Kerala. Tankobon, 2016. Print.
e. English in India
Rushdie, Salman. “Introduction” Vintage Book of Indian Writing 1947 – 1997. Salman Rushdie and Elizabeth West, eds. Vintage, 1997.
f. Minority expressions
Limbale, Sharan Kumar. ‘Dalit Literature: Form and Purpose,’ Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History ,Controversies& Considerations. Orient Longman, 2004. 23-39. Print.
Barker, Clare. “Cracking India and Partition: Dismembering the National Body” Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor and Materiality. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 95-126. Print.

Module 2. Trends in Comparison
Readings (indicative list):
Auberach, Erich. “Odysseus’ Scar” Mimesis. Princeton University Press, 2003. 3-23. Print.
Feris, David. “Why Compare?” Behdad and Thomas, eds. A Companion to Comparative Literature. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 28-45. Print.
Apter, Emily. “A New Comparative Literature”. The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature. Princeton University Press, 2006. 243-151. Print.
Spivak, Gayatri. “Rethinking Comparativism”. New Literary History. 40.3, 2009. 609-626. Print.

Module 3. Genealogies of Comparative Literature
Readings (indicative list):
Das, Sisir Kumar. Prologue. History of Indian Literature. Vol I, 1800-1910: Western Impact: Indian ResponseSahityaAkademi, 1991. 1-17. Print.
Tagore, Rabindranath. “Visvasahitya” [selections]. Trans. MakarandParanjape and Rijula Das. Ed. D. Banerji. Rabindranath Tagore in the 21st Century: Theoretical Renewals, Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures 7. Springer, 2015. 277-88. Print.
Apter, Emily. “Global Translatio: The “Invention” of Comparative Literature, Istanbul, 1933.” Prendergast, ed. Debating World Literature. Verso, 2004. 76-109. Print.
Dev, Amiya. "Comparative Literature in India." CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 2.4, 2000. 2-8. Web.

Module 4. Issues in Literary Comparison in India
Readings (indicative list):
Ahmad, Aijaz. “Indian Literature': Notes towards the Definition of a Category”. In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures. Verso, 1992. 243-286. Print.
Raveendran, P.P. Selections from Texts, Histories, Geographies: Reading Indian Literature. Permanent Black, 2009. Print.
Trivedi, Harish. “The Progress in Hindi, Part 2”. Pollock, ed. Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. University of California Press, 2003. 864-911.
Pritchett, Frances W. “A Long History of Urdu Literature, Part 2: Histories, Performances, and Masters”. Pollock, ed. Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. University of California Press, 2003.958-1022.