Influence or Confluence: Joyce, Eliot, Cohen and the Case for Comparative Studies

Influence or Confluence: Joyce, Eliot, Cohen and the Case for Comparative Studies ALISON BOULANGER The discipline of Comparative Literature is generally considered to be extremely open to all sorts of trends of thought imported from other disciplines, with a wide field for research. As a result, comparatists have tried to establish clear-cut criteria for comparison, taking into account considerations of time, place, and cultural traditions, in order to avoid vagueness and shapelessness. There is, however, one basic tenet about which they tend to disagree: the relevance of influence. In what appears to be a virtually limitless field of investigation, the category of influence is advantageous in that it provides at least one obvious boundary. Therefore it has occasionally been suggested, logically, that comparison should be limited to works which show at least some sort of tenuous link to one another. This study does not propose to unearth the war-hatchet, only to contrast the strikingly different treatment met by three works at the hands of the critics. The first two of them, Joyce's Ulysses and Eliot's Waste Land, hardly require identification. The third, Projections ou Après-Minuit à Genève, is a virtually unknown work by Albert Cohen (the author of the much better-known Belle du Seigneur), classed as a "prose poem" but http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Studies Penn State University Press

Influence or Confluence: Joyce, Eliot, Cohen and the Case for Comparative Studies

Comparative Literature Studies, Volume 39 (1) – Feb 1, 2002

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1528-4212
Publisher site
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Abstract

ALISON BOULANGER The discipline of Comparative Literature is generally considered to be extremely open to all sorts of trends of thought imported from other disciplines, with a wide field for research. As a result, comparatists have tried to establish clear-cut criteria for comparison, taking into account considerations of time, place, and cultural traditions, in order to avoid vagueness and shapelessness. There is, however, one basic tenet about which they tend to disagree: the relevance of influence. In what appears to be a virtually limitless field of investigation, the category of influence is advantageous in that it provides at least one obvious boundary. Therefore it has occasionally been suggested, logically, that comparison should be limited to works which show at least some sort of tenuous link to one another. This study does not propose to unearth the war-hatchet, only to contrast the strikingly different treatment met by three works at the hands of the critics. The first two of them, Joyce's Ulysses and Eliot's Waste Land, hardly require identification. The third, Projections ou Après-Minuit à Genève, is a virtually unknown work by Albert Cohen (the author of the much better-known Belle du Seigneur), classed as a "prose poem" but

Journal

Comparative Literature StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Feb 1, 2002

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