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February 03, 2015

Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek's "New" Comparative Literature as BOTH Theory and Method

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Class,

In the comment box below,

. . . the note-taker/scribe from each group should retype the question your group discussed today in class and provide an answer with quotations from the text to support your answers. You MUST put the page number (or, paragraph number if there are no page numbers) in parentheses after any quotation used.

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class. For example:

Remember: I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

We are beginning to use some concepts in our discussions that you may or may have had practice using before. I want to be sure that you have a clear understanding of the words we use in class (no more blank stares!) so be sure you are looking up words you don't feel you yet "own" (means, making it a part of your personal vocabulary) by utilizing your dictionaries to the fullest.

~Dr. Hobbs

_____________________________________

To see other English-Blog entries on the subject of Critical Theory, please click HERE.

Posted by lhobbs at February 3, 2015 10:40 PM

Readers' Comments:

Dalton Hart
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: ENG 410 - Reading the Planet CA01
6 February 2015

Question:
In this chapter, Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words, (a.) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THE FIRST GENERAL PRINCIPAL and (b.) explain his position on that principal. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principal or does he take issue with it? Why? Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer:
Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek’s first general principle is that when studying, researching, or teaching literature “it is not the ‘what’ but rather the ‘how’ that is of importance,” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15). In other terms, Tötösy de Zepetnek is stating that the technique used by the author should be more thoroughly examined or taught when speaking of a certain piece of literature instead of simply touching on the finished product. Based on Tötösy de Zepetnek's discussion before his first general principle it would seem that he fully agrees with his first principle. Tötösy de Zepetnek does point out that comparative literature studies have been and currently are “Predicated on the borrowing of methods from other disciplines and on the application of the appropriated method to areas of study single-language literary study more often than tends to neglect, the discipline is difficult to define because thus it is fragmented and pluralistic,” but he goes on to applaud this “discipline” of studying (Tötösy de Zepetnek 13). Tötösy de Zepetnek states that this practice of importance being placed on the method is one that has had a lasting impact on the study of literature and that is has great promise going forward. Therefore, it can be concluded that although Tötösy de Zepetnek confesses there may be some problems with a sole focus on the “how” when it comes to literature, the method should remain of great importance when it comes to studying or teaching comparative literature.

Posted by: Dalton Hart at February 5, 2015 08:41 PM

Kristen Collins
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
6 February 2015

Bourdieu defines the literary field as "a field of forces acting on all those who enter this space and differently according to the position that they occupy there, at the same time as a field of struggle aiming to transform this field of forces." (Chapter 1: _Comparative Literature: Theory, Method, Application_, pg. 39, par. 1)

QUESTION: After Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussion of the ten principals (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18), and before he begins to list and describe his list of proposed theoretical frameworks for comparative literature (34-40), a good deal of time and space is devoted to his thorough explanation of what he calls the “systemic” framework (24-34). You should have a good grasp of this information before tackling the following. In your own words, (a.) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THEORY OF THE LITERARY FIELD and (b.) explain his position on that framework. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of this framework, what seems to be the advantages and or disadvantages of this approach? Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

ANSWER: Tötösy de Zepetnek uses the term of “literary field” differently from the traditional ideas, where it is not just the “social context” or “literary milieu”, but actually a theory dealing with the moveable and interchangeable social space (pg. 39). The literary field is open to the different time periods, cultural constructs, social fields, and to the writers themselves, being a very fluid field where on specific thing may or may not change the other depending who is writing and who is publishing. There needs to be an awareness that nothing will go in a single direction, the field may stay one certain way at a time but the movement will always be upheaved for another, with people moving forward or continuing on in a past movement. The framework is set historically to show the transformations, whether it be: hegemony, hierarchy of cultural values, or school/institutional movements. Each of these have their own internal rules and divisions to continue showing this liminal and fluid state of the theory of the literary field. This theory takes in every aspect of Comparative Literature because it deals with the field of literature as a whole. It is mostly an advantage to use this approach since it is not limited in one specific part in theory, method, and application. Language is involved, along with time periods (technology of the time), cultural constructs, educational systems, and literature as a whole (with a variety of arts and humanities/social sciences).

Posted by: Kristen Collins at February 6, 2015 07:06 AM

Craig Graves
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures CA01
6 February 2015

Question 14:
After Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussion of the ten principals (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18), and before he begins to list and describe his list of proposed theoretical frameworks for comparative literature (34-40), a good deal of time and space is devoted to his thorough explanation of what he calls the “systemic” framework (24-34). You should have a good grasp of this information before tackling the following. In your own words, (a.) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of theory of the system of written text and (b.) explain his position on that framework. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of this framework, what seems to be the advantages and or disadvantages of this approach? Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the art of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer:
According to Tötösy de Zepetnek, the system of written text relates to “the sociology of literature as well as the theories of communication (Tötösy de Zepetnek 25)” because, on both a small and large scale, there is a certain structure to literature that affects one’s ideology or perception of the world around them and how people talk to one another. People are more likely to talk to those geographically or socially close to them rather than branching out to communicate with people from faraway places. Despite these kinds of blocks in communication, Tötösy de Zepetnek says, literature anywhere in the world can, and often does, have the same general structure or format. That is to say, literature around the world tends to follow the same kind of formula for storytelling that can range from very detailed and complex arrangement to very simplistic and straightforward arrangements. Tötösy de Zepetnek supports this theory because, as he quotes from Zubarev, “the study of literature is, perhaps, ‘the most productive way of integrating artistic/nonartistic elements (Tötösy de Zepetnek 25).’” Tötösy de Zepetnek goes on to support his claims by saying that the arguments of literary scholars on this subject tends to depict “unfamiliarity (Tötösy de Zepetnek 28).”An advantage of this systematic theory of literature would be the repetition of the patterns that can be seen in literature throughout the world almost regardless of who is writing. A disadvantage of this systematic theory would be that one would have to be extremely familiar with the inner workings of the theory to effectively look for, see, and explain the repetitious patterns.

Posted by: Craig Graves at February 6, 2015 08:42 AM

Emily Finck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 413 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
9 February 2015


Question #10:
In this chapter, Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words, (a.) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THE TENTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL and (b.) explain his position on that principal. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principal or does he take issue with it? Why? Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.


Answer:
The “Tenth General Principal” of Tötösy de Zepetnek’s “A New Comparative Literature as Theory and Method” asks the question of the relevance of studying Comparative Literature (18). Simply put, the reason Comparative Literature is studied is that it offers “intellectual and pedagogical” countenance to any field imaginable (18). This principal also helps to advance knowledge and information by taking a multi-dimensional approach to the discipline, by offering a multi-faceted style. Bases on further analysis of this statement on the “Tenth General Principal” Tötösy de Zepetnek’s stance is for the ideal surmised above. He states many times throughout the article that the discipline of Comparative Literature needs to be “intra-disciplinary, multidisciplinary, and pluri-disciplinary” to be considered bonafide Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 17).

Posted by: Emily Finck at February 7, 2015 12:29 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
English 410 CA01 Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
7 February 2015

Question:
Summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THE FIFTH GENERAL PRINCIPLE and explain his position on that principle. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principle or does he take issue with it? Why?

Answer:
The Fifth General Principle of Comparative Literature is that comparative cultural studies focus on English as an international language of scholarship. Tötösy de Zepetnek supports this "because Comparative Literature is not self-referential and exclusionary; rather, the parallel use of English is effectively converted into a tool for and of communication in the study, pedagogy, and scholarship of literature" (17). This allows scholars from outside North America and Europe to present their works on an international forum and be understood by their colleagues from other countries.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at February 7, 2015 10:33 PM

Ashtan Richey
ENG410 Reading the Planet CA01
Dr. Hobbs
8 February 2015

Tötösy de Zepetnek, THE FOURTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL

a.) Tötösy de Zepetnek's fourth general principle of comparative literature focuses on the possible ways of comparison of literature works with works such as art, music, film, etc.; as well as to use history and social sciences for comparison.

b.) Tötösy de Zepetnek clearly does not agree with these statements in his fourth principal. Tötösy de Zepetnek suggests that the addition of other art studies takes too much focus away from the works of literature. He states "There is a problem of naming and designation exactly because of the multiple approach... (Tötösy de Zepetnek 16). The author also discusses "consequently and regrettably" that there has been a lack of "institutional representation of Comparative Literature... (Tötösy de Zepetnek 16), speaking out directly towards programs in Universities.

Posted by: Ashtan Richey at February 8, 2015 10:11 PM

Hannah McCafferty
Dr. Hobbes
ENG 410 Reading the Planet
7 February 2015

Question:
In this chapter, Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words, (a.) summarize de Zepetnek’s explication of THE SEVENTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL and (b.) explain his position on that principal. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principal or does he take issue with it? Why?

Answer:
The Fifth General Principal of Comparative Literature focuses primarily on methodology or using methods and ideas to control disciplines. Although many individuals try to use their literary works as an idea that shapes political and economic policies, Comparative Literature includes specific methods to regulate their ideas and how its affects on the disciplines within society. Tötösy de Zepetnek seems to agree with this principal as he reiterates the importance of methodology in Comparative Literature. “While this ideology is a factor in many current theories of culture and literature, Comparative Literature is proposed here with the postulate to employ explicit methodologies as follows in the Eight principle” (19). In short, numerous literary works share similar ideas and theories as Comparative Literature, but only Comparative Literature suggest the uses of specific methods and rules.

Posted by: Hannah McCafferty at February 9, 2015 03:26 AM

Jahiedy Vinas
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading The Planet CA01
9 February 2015

Question: In this chapter, Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words, (a.) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THE EIGHTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL and (b.) explain his position on that principal. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek's discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principal or
does he take issue with it? Why? Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: The Eighth general principle focuses on the second definition of Comparative Literature: “has an ideology of inclusion of the Other” (4). In other words, Comparative Literature includes other disciplines, like humanities, to study literature and contribute to modern knowledge.

Therefore, the Eighth General Principle of Comparative Literature focuses on three ways to study with other disciplines: intra-disciplinarity, which researches and analyses within humanities; multi-disciplinary, which employs assistance with one scholar from another discipline to research and analyze; and lastly, pluri-disciplinarity, which exercises team-work with several scholars from different disciplines (17-18).

Tötösy de Zepetnek is completely on board with the Eighth General Principle. In fact, Tötösy de Zepetnek shares the importance of working with the History department by giving the example of history graduate students who were able to find inconsistencies in historical content and literature (20-21). Staying involved with other disciplinary studies build a better-informed literary criticism that further increases understanding, creating the “social relevance of the study and teaching of literature” in need of legitimization with widely recognized methods (22-23).

Posted by: Jahiedy Vinas at February 9, 2015 04:34 AM

Lorie Jewell
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature CA01
9 February 2015

Question: In this chapter, Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words, (a.) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek's explication of THE THIRD GENERAL PRINCIPAL and (b.) explain his position on that principal. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principle, or does he take issue with it? Why? Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: The third general principle of Comparative Literature is having knowledge of foreign languages and the literatures of those countries; Tötösy de Zepetnek calls it a “grounding” and that such knowledge should come before any deep study of theory and methodology. In one sense, he agrees with this because in his introduction, he explicitly states that one of the two definitions of

Comparative Literature is “the knowledge of more than one national language and literature” (13). However, he later states that he sees “structural and administrative problems on the institutional and pedagogical levels” (16) with this principle, in that he foresees issues with the ability to develop one’s focus from an exclusive national literature to the “inclusionary and interdisciplinary principles of Comparative Literature” (16). He sees a problem with Comparative Literature being a postgraduate discipline, so perhaps he is proposing (without saying) that study of it should begin earlier, in the middle or high school grades. This makes sense if students need to know something about other languages – the earlier, the better. Tötösy de Zepetnek’s solution is to allow “a parallelism in intellectual approach, institutional structure, and administrative practice” (16). To be honest, I am not completely sure what Tötösy de Zepetnek means by that but my best guess is that none of the studies should be exclusionary; students should study more than one national literature at a time (parallel) and that institutions should be structured to accommodate this.

Posted by: Lorie Jewell at February 9, 2015 07:55 AM

Shawn DeJesus
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410CL Reading The Planet CA01
9 February 2015

Question: Summarize Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek’s SECOND GENERAL PRINCIPLE. What does Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek suggest are its challenges as well as its positives in regards to Comparative Global Literature as a field of effective intellectual study?

Answer: One of the main facets of Comparative Global Literature is its ability “to move and to dialogue between cultures, languages, literatures, and disciplines.” (16) This is perhaps Global Comparative Literature’s most important principle, as well as its most difficult obstacle. This universality of comparative global literature and its “inclusion of the other” (14) is what makes it such a beneficial and effective means of study when applied to the field of world literature. However, nationalized “self built-in notions and self-referentiality of single languages” pose a threat to its universal aspect and hinders the study’s ability to transcend cultural barriers and stratifications.

Posted by: Shawn DeJesus at February 9, 2015 08:46 AM

Nicole Klukowski
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CAO 1
3 February 2016

“The tenth General Principle of Comparative Literature is its claim on the vocational commitment of its practitioners. In other words, why study and work in Comparative Literature?” (18).

QUESTION: Summarize and explain Tolosy de Zepetnek’s view on the 10th principle of Comparative Literature.

ANSWER: The study of comparative literature enhances our knowledge by teaching us multiple ways of approaching literature (18). Because of complications that the humanities bring to the study, the study of literature socially and publically is declining (18). The general public does not like studying the humanities. Tolosy de Zepetnek believes more attention should be paid to the study of literature because literature holds the power to persuade people (19). Literature sets humans apart. The decline in the study of humanities alarms Tolosy de Zepetnek (19). Because of the decrease in interest, the study perishes economically. After a brief influx of money after WWII, the humanities funds have been steadily declining (20). The current study of literature is flawed (21). The field has become isolated when it should be dealing with world issues (21). The study of literature should be socially relevant by studying multiple cultures (22). Tolosy de Zepetnek believes that making the study of literature more “systemic” and “empirical” will solve most of the critiques of the study (24).

Posted by: Nicole Klukowski at February 1, 2016 06:46 PM

Nicholas Santos
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
3 February 2016

“The Seventh General Principle of Comparative Literature is its theoretical, methodological as well as ideological and political approach of inclusion” (Page 17, Chapter One, Comparative Global Literature Theory, Method, Application, Tötösy de Zepetnek).

Question: In Chapter One of Prof. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek’s “Comparative Global Literature Theory, Method, Application,” Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the Ten “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 17). In Your own words, a) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of the SEVENTH General Principle and b) explain his position on that principle. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principle or does he take issue with it? Why?

Answer: Prof. Tötösy de Zepetnek’s Seventh General Principle of Comparative Literature defines the way in which Comparative Literature is easily inclusive—meaning, it isn’t restricted by certain factors such as the race of person who wrote it, the style it is written in, and much more, as Tötösy de Zepetnek alludes to. Tötösy de Zepetnek says that “this inclusion extends to all Other, all marginal, minority, and peripheral and it encompasses both form and substance,” which essentially means that works of any type can be included (17). This leads into, what Tötösy de Zepetnek explains, the Eighth General Principle of Comparative Literature, which highlights Comparative Literature’s “attention to […] interdisciplinary study,” which also hints at inclusivity (17).

Tötösy de Zepetnek does not directly mention his own personal stance on the Seventh General Principle directly. He does, however, mention inclusivity again during his explanation of the Eighth General Principle and the Ninth General Principle, saying that it is important that the Ninth Principle “[promotes] Comparative Literatures as a global and inclusive disciple of international humanities with focus on literature” (18).

It appears that Tötösy de Zepetnek greatly agrees with the General Principles he defines. He states early on in the text that he believes that “Comparative Literature […] produces that meaningful dialogue between cultures and literatures that is its mark theoretically, in application, and in basic as well as higher level education;” Tötösy de Zepetnek sees Comparative Literature and the factors that define them as significant (15).

Posted by: Nicholas Santos at February 2, 2016 12:37 PM

Jacie Dieffenwierth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature
2 February 2016

Tötösy de Zepetnek

Question: THE FIFTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL In this chapter, Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words, (a) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THE FIFTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL and (b) explain his position on that principal. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principal or does he take issue with it? Why?

Answer: Tötösy de Zepetnek defines it as comparing single languages and literatures side by side in a language that has become universal to most nations when the native languages are not the same (Tötösy de Zepetnek 16-17). English has become that middle ground language. Although it is not meant to “colonize” and take away from the original translation’s context, culture, or original meaning. It is merely a tool in reaching and bringing together various literary pieces from around the world. Tötösy de Zepetnek views the practice as beneficial since he said, “I believe [it] to be theoretically innovative and methodologically precise approach to study literature and culture” (14).

Posted by: Jacie Dieffenwierth at February 2, 2016 04:03 PM

Jacie Dieffenwierth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature
2 February 2016

Tötösy de Zepetnek

Question: THE FIFTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL In this chapter, Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words, (a) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THE FIFTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL and (b) explain his position on that principal. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principal or does he take issue with it? Why?

Answer: Tötösy de Zepetnek defines it as comparing single languages and literatures side by side in a language that has become universal to most nations when the native languages are not the same (Tötösy de Zepetnek 16-17). English has become that middle ground language. Although it is not meant to “colonize” and take away from the original translation’s context, culture, or original meaning. It is merely a tool in reaching and bringing together various literary pieces from around the world. Tötösy de Zepetnek views the practice as beneficial since he said, “I believe [it] to be theoretically innovative and methodologically precise approach to study literature and culture” (14).

Posted by: Jacie Dieffenwierth at February 2, 2016 04:03 PM

Lauren Kilton

Dr. Hobbs

ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation

2 February 2016

6. (a) The Second General Principle of Comparative Literature, as explained by Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, is the reason to study foreign cultures and literatures.

(b) Tötösy de Zepetnek argues that Comparative Literature provides a field of study which challenges the exclusiveness, limits, and problems of a single language and literature study.
He seems to agree with the principle, as he views the dialogue between cultures and literatures as “meaningful” (15).

Posted by: Lauren Kilton at February 2, 2016 10:53 PM

Annie Hays
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
3 February 2016

“Comparative Literature Theory, Method, Application” by Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek Ch. 1

Question: Historically, according to Prof. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, Comparative Literature has been limited, in many ways, to what parameters? What has, traditionally, been the focus of the field? Has that been problematic, for any reason? If so, why? Is the field changing? If so, how? Explain, in your own words, using quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: Historically, Coparative Literature has had, “a focus on European literatures and later on European and American literature” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 13). It appears to have been limited to learning one other language and studying literature in that language, and this is problem because it, “more often than tends to neglect” of other literature (13). Essentially, Tötösy de Zepetnek is arguing that scholars of Comparative Literature have a bad habit of only learning one language other than English, which tends to be a European language, in order to study works only in that one European language. Thus, until recently, the field has largely ignored non-European works of literature. The field might be changing as Tötösy de Zepetnek says the field is coming under criticism for being so Euro-centric. However, he provides no specific examples of academics exploring more non-European literatures, and he says, “the discipline paid more attention to "Other" literatures than any of the national literatures” (13). While he says the criticism of the field, “makes sense to a point,” it seems that he does not see much need for change in the field (13).

Posted by: Annie Hays at February 3, 2016 09:34 AM

Alyssa Barca
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
3 February 2016

Question: 12. THE EIGHTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL
In this chapter, Prof. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words,
(a) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THE EIGHTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL and
(b) explain his position on that principal.
Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principal or does he take issue with it? Why? Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: In Professor Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek’s article, the Eighth General Principle has three types of methodological precision: intra-disciplinarity, multi-disciplinarity, and pluri-disciplinarity. Intra-disciplinarity can be described as, “analysis and research within the disciplines in the humanities.” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 17) Multi-disciplinarity is explained as, “analysis and research by one scholar employing any other discipline.” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 17) Lastly, pluri-disciplanrity is portrayed as, “anaylsis and research by team-work with participants from several disciplne.” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 18) Overall, the prefix “intra” means constructing research within one discipline and not using outside sources. The prefix “multi” would be using and applying multiple different disciplines with research done by one person. Lastly, the prefix “pluri” would mean using and incorporating many different disciplines with many different people. Professor Tötösy de Zepetnek thinks that the concept of using many different disciplines to compare literature has the potential to be extremely beneficial to scholars. However, Tötösy de Zepetnek thinks an issue may arise if the scholars are “reluctant to employ team-work for the study of literature.” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 18)

Posted by: Alyssa Barca at February 3, 2016 11:08 AM

Giuseppe Donnian
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410
03 February 2016

The polysystem theory focuses on two aspects of comparative frameworks. These two main aspects are the “systemic” and the “empirical.” Comparative literature works as a principle to showcase these elements. Literature works as a system connected by a closed set of relations. As is systemic thinking when reading these novels. The empirical principle is when one pays attention to the importance of system and observation in a piece of literature.
Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek's believes that the discipline of Comparative Literature appears to be under considerable pressure. Aside from the United State the discipline has yet to be institutionalized. He does believe that Comparative Literature is developing, “However, as I already mentioned, in contrast to the discipline's intellectual and institutional dismantling in the United States, in South America and in the "peripheral" European countries (e.g., Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, etc.) in recent years there has been a marked development of Comparative Literature as a discipline both intellectually and institutionally” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 24). Alongside the growth of Comparative Literature with a systemic perspective. He believes the notion of system is more conventional in its framework and methodology.

Tötösy de Zepetnek, Steven. "Chapter One: A New Comparative Literature as Theory and Method." _Comparative Literature Theory, Method, Application_. Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1998. Print.

Posted by: Giuseppe Donnian at February 3, 2016 11:15 AM

Ashley Reynolds
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literature in Translation CA01
3 February 2016

Question: After Prof. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussion of the ten principals (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18), and before he begins to list and describe his list of proposed theoretical frameworks for comparative literature (34-40), a good deal of time and space is devoted to his thorough explanation of what he calls the “systemic” framework (24-34). You should have a good grasp of this information before tackling the following.
In your own words, (a) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THEORY OF THE SYSTEM OF WRITTEN TEXT and (b) explain his position on that framework. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of this framework, what seems to be the advantages and or disadvantages of this approach?

Answer: The theory of the system of written text is a systematic approach to analyzing literature. Specifically, it looks at literature and the culture in which it is written as a group of systems and subsystems. Tötösy de Zepetnek explains that literature isn’t an isolated system. He writes: "literature" itself is understood as a subsystem of culture that in turn is another subsystem of the system of communication (Tötösy de Zepetnek 28). In other words, literature is part of the larger context of language and culture.

The theory of the system of written text looks at the parts of the literature subsystem and then places them in the context of cultural and socio-political factors. Agents of production, distribution, and conservation have a complex interrelationship. Producers create written text, which is spread through distributors and preserved by conservers (Tötösy de Zepetnek 28). Each of these groups strongly influences one another. For example, readers of written text are more likely to read certain kinds of material over others based on their culture and political situation. This influences what works are distributed, which then influences what is produced and what is conserved.

The advantage of this approach is that it takes into account the complex factors that influence literature within a particular society. It does not look at literature as an isolated phenomenon. As Zubarev notes, the systemic approach is “the most productive way of integrating artistic/nonartistic elements” (qtd. in Tötösy de Zepetnek 25). The systemic approach analyzes how culture and socio-politics influence literature, and how literature influences it in turn. By doing so, it gives valuable context to written text. However, trying to take into account an entire culture’s influence on a particular work is a herculean, if not altogether impossible, task. One could spend years studying the history, politics, traditions, and influences in a particular nation and still not have the entire context of a specific work. This doesn’t even include international and regional influences. While this systemic approach is valuable, it is impossible to understand any cultural and communication system in its entirety.

Posted by: Ashley Reynolds at February 3, 2016 12:06 PM

Daniella Zacarias Kattán
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 CA01 Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
1 February 2016

“The Fourth General Principle of Comparative Literature is its interest to study literature in relation to other forms of artistic expression (the visual arts, music, film, etc.) and in relation to other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences (history, sociology, psychology, etc.). The obstacle here is that the attention to other fields of expression and other disciplines of study result in the lack of clearly definable recognizable, single-focussed, and major theoretical and methodological framework of Comparative Literature. There is a problem of naming and designation exactly because of the multiple approach and parallelism. In turn, this lack of recognized and recognizable products results in the discipline’s difficulties and institutional power. Consequently and regrettably, and viewed in a global context, institutional representation of Comparative Literature in university departments is minimal when compared with national language and literature representation and power.” (Page 16, Tötösy de Zepetnek).

Question: THE FOURTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL In this chapter, Prof. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek reviews and explains the 10 “General Principles” of Comparative Literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 15-18). In your own words,
(a) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THE FOURTH GENERAL PRINCIPAL and
(b) explain his position on that principal. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of the principles, does he seem to agree with this principal or does he take issue with it? Why?
Use quoted passages from the text (with page numbers in parentheses) to support the part of your answer that appears in your own words.

Answer: a) In this general principal, Tötösy de Zepetnek explains that there is a lack of “clearly definable recognizable, single-focussed, and major theoretical and methodological framework of Comparative Literature.” (16). In other words, he expresses the need for more focus in the area of Comparative Literature, versus the national language and national literature.
b) He seems to agree with The Fourth General Principal through his discussion, particularly at the end of page 21 and beginning of 22. Tötösy de Zepetnek states that “In the study of literature – especially on the North American landscape of literary scholarship, although the situation is much the same from a global perspective pending cultural differences and historical precedents . . . , the lack of precise taxonomy and clarity . . . and most importantly, the dissonance between doing ‘high’ science in research . . .” (22). The basics of The Fourth General Principal are definitely present throughout the discussion, he explains that the lack of “definable recognizable, single-focussed, and major theoretical and methodological framework of Comparative Literature.” (16). Although Tötösy de Zepetnek agrees that literature should be accessible to the masses, he argues that with accessibility also comes the dumbing down of the literary works.

Posted by: Daniella Zacarias at February 3, 2016 12:21 PM

Leona Hunt
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410: Reading the Planet - Comparative Global Literature
3 February 2016

Question 16) In your own words, (a) summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THEORY OF THE LITERARY INSTITUTION and (b) explain his position on that framework. Based on everything Tötösy de Zepetnek’s discussed before his discussion of this framework, what seems to be the advantages and or disadvantages of this approach?

Answer: (a) Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of THEORY OF THE LITERARY INSTITUTION, which was first termed by Jacques Dubois, states that “institutions (or subsystems) are components of a system when literature is viewed as a subsystem” (20). Basically, institutions provide a product for a particular audience or they answer a need in literature; the large system breaks down into smaller, more specialized systems. Institutions can be publishing firms, schools, newspapers, and so on. (b) Tötösy de Zepetnek believes institutions are more successful if the subsystems “focus on the ‘how’ of literature, not the ‘what,’” (20) which means that there is a more increased awareness on the form and concoction of literature. An advantage of the literary institution is that it can bring awareness of dichotomy subjects such as globalization and localization and teach about global issues. According to the ninth principle, a successful institution “represents the notion of working against the stream by promoting Comparative Literature as a global and inclusive discipline” (18); in other words, institutions can break down mainstream beliefs and connect people. The disadvantage is that there is difficulty implementing the institution framework in places where literature is not considered important. Tötösy de Zepetnek says “the obstacle lies in the institutional location of cultural studies and its marginalizing effect on the study of literature” (17); therefore, location determines how an institution is received and its success in that area depending on how literature is valued.

Posted by: Leona Hunt at February 3, 2016 01:07 PM

Marie Umholtz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 - Reading the Planet-Comparative Global Literatures in Translation
3 February 2016

Homework # 5:
a) The “method” scholars use to study comparative literature and culture is more important than the subject matter they study.
b) Tötösy de Zepetnek believes that comparative literature studies have “a distinguished history” (4). He commends comparative literature as “Predicated on the borrowing of methods from other disciplines and on the application of the appropriated method to areas of study single-language literary study more often than tends to neglect” (4). He sees strengths in the interdisciplinary aspect of comparative global literature; however, he seems to place high importance on the subject matter of works studied as opposed to the first principle. He notes the importance of including “Other” cultural literature outside of the Eurocentric focus (4).

Posted by: Marie Umholtz at February 3, 2016 01:20 PM

Amber Clidinst
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet: Comparative Global Literature CA01
3 February 2016

Tötösy de Zepetnek Third Principle


Question: What is Tötösy de Zepetnek’s Third Principle of Comparative Literature?

Answer: The Third Principle of Comparative Literature is the need for the person studying the literature to gain knowledge of other areas, as in multiple languages or knowledge of other literatures, before studying a single piece.

Question: Does Tötösy de Zepetnek agree with this principle?

Answer: Tötösy de Zepetnek sees a problem with this principle in that it makes teaching more difficult and therefore it is usually saved for graduate programs and when students get around it it they are unprepared. He believes there is a solution to this, though, and that undergraduate programs should prepare students for and teach Comparative Literature.

Posted by: Amber Clidinst at February 3, 2016 05:05 PM

Natalie Cassidy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Reading the Planet CA01
1 February 2016

Question: In this chapter, Prof. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek claims that, “in principle, the discipline of Comparative Literature is, in toto, a method in the study of literature in at least two ways.” What are those two ways? Explain them, in your own words.

Answer: Professor Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek states that Comparative Literature is a study of literature in two ways. First, Comparative Literature is the study of “more than one national language and literature,” or, the study of other disciplines and literature (Tötösy de Zepetnek 13). In other words, Comparative Literature focuses on literature that involves different languages and cultures. Second, Professor Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek states, “Comparative Literature has an ideology of inclusion of the Other” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 13). In other words, Comparative Literature is a global study of literature, which borrows techniques from other areas of study. Comparative Literature is accepting of different techniques and methods, whereas other forms of literature may reject this style of writing.

Posted by: Natalie Cassidy at February 5, 2016 04:25 PM

Cheryl Nance
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Comparative Global Literatures in Translation CA01
5 February 2016

Question: Summarize Totosy de Zepetnek’s explication of the Theory of the Empirical Study of Literature and explain his position on that framework. What seems to be the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

Answer: The empirical study of literature originated as a reaction to reception theory and the theory of Radical (cognitive) Constructivism. Reception theory explains that interpretation of literature doesn’t just come from the text itself, but also from the reader and his social conventions. Radical Constructivism is “based on the thesis that the subject largely construes its empirical world itself” (34). In other words, it does not take into account any outside reality. “The object of study of the empirical study of literature is not only the text itself, but roles of action within the literary system, namely, the production, distribution, reception, and the processing of texts” (35). This study is done through general empirical research by forming a hypothesis, then testing it and evaluating the results. One disadvantage of this approach is that many of the research results are trivial because they just confirm what is already known or suspected. “It is clear, however, that the empirical study of literature by its specific approach and its focus on methodology is an outstanding way to explore the socio-cultural aspects of the literary system” (35).

Posted by: Cheryl Nance at February 7, 2016 10:51 AM

Alexis Lebkey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 410 Global Comparative Literature CA01
01 February 2016

Question: Summarize Tötösy de Zepetnek’s explication of The Sixth General Principle and explain Tötösy de Zepetnek’s position on the principal.

Answer: Tötösy de Zepetnek says the sixth general principle of comparative literature is the focus on the context of culture (17). Tötösy de Zepetnek seems to take issue with it because he says this focus is “far from being self-evident” as “the current prominence of cultural/culture studies, on the institutional level, is the focus on aspects of culture where literature is not a primary factor” (17). In other words, institutions often study aspects of culture where literature is not an important factor. He goes on to say that this issue has nothing to do with approach or method but in the institution’s location and how it marginalizes the study of literature (17).

Posted by: Alexis Lebkey at February 7, 2016 04:14 PM

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