Join our email listserv and receive monthly updates on the latest titles.

Hopkins Fulfillment Services

Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalism

, 224 pages
December 1994



Availability Text

Usually ships 1-3 weeks after receipt of order.

Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalism

In recent years, the idea of multiculturalism has become a powerful—and controversial—influence in a variety of social and cultural territories. In the academic world it has profoundly influenced curriculum and scholarship in the humanities, particularly in traditionally Eurocentric disciplines such as comparative literature.

It was hardly surprising, then, that the 1993 report "Comparative Literature at the Turn of the Century"—which endorses a multicultural orientation for the discipline—generated an unprecedented level of interest. The third such report on professional standards issued by the American Comparative Literature Association since 1965, it continues to be the subject of lively discussion and debate. At issue is not only the definition of a discipline but also the cultural function of literary study in general. This book brings together the three ACLA reports (issued in 1965, 1975, and 1993), three responses to the latest report presented at the 1993 MLA convention (by K. Anthony Appiah, Mary Louise Pratt, and Michael Riffaterre), and thirteen additional position papers by prominent scholars in the humanities.

Contributors: Ed Ahearn • K. Anthony Appiah • Emily Apter • Charles Bernheimer • Peter Brooks • Rey Chow • Jonathan Culler • David Damrosch • Elizabeth Fox-Genovese • Roland Greene • Margaret R. Higonnet • Françoise Lionnet • Marjorie Perloff • Mary Russo • Tobin Siebers • Mary Louise Pratt • Michael Riffaterre • Arnold Weinstein

Charles Bernheimer is cochair of the program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Flaubert and Kafka: Studies in Psychopoetic Structure and Figures of Ill Repute: Representing Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century France.

"Charles Bernheimer closes the 'Preface' to this collection with an appropriate, even if seemingly grand, claim for the success of the book after having outlined how quickly it was assembled: 'The result is a volume that offers an extraordinary range of passionate insights and engaged opinions about the theory and practice at the turn of the century' (xi). Rather than hyperbolic, this indeed is a fitting description for a very important and timely collection, that not only addresses the most pressing issues affecting the discipline of Comparitive Literature, but actually voices a remarkable number of intellectual and political confrontations affecting literary studies in general."

"Offers an arresting look at a disipline in the process of reinventing itself in responce to these challenges."

"This compelling book, designed to offer a thorough examination of the identity and goals of comparative literature in the age of multiculturalism, is both informative and insightful."

"This anthology brings together three American Comparative Literature Association reports (1965, 1975, and 1993) with three responses to the latest report at the Modern Language Association convention as well as thirteen position papers from various scholars in the humanities. Sensitive to the Eurocentrism of much comparative literature these essays map out the issues of integrating a serious multiculturalism into the field and how it portends to redefine completely the field. Recommended as a focused anthology on the issues of integrating multiculturalism into academic practice."

"The strength of this collection is that it provides no neat resolution to the current debates about the status of literature, the geographical scope of the field, and methods of reading. Instead it demonstrates how this lack of consensus can be a constructive and revitalizing force that will carry the discipline of comparative literature into the twenty-first century."

Related Books