Origins and Definitions of Literature

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  • Topic: Literature, Plato, Ancient Greece
  • Pages : 3 (860 words )
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  • Published : December 27, 2010
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-Guyard: “Comparative literature is the history of international relations. -Aldridge, A. Owen. Comparative Literature: Matter and Method.: “… comparative literature… provides a method of broadening one’s perspective in the approach to single works of literature – a way of looking beyond the narrow boundaries of national frontiers in order to discern trends and movements in various national cultures and to see the relations between literature and other spheres of human activity… “ -Remak, Henry. Comparative Literature: Method and Perspective. “Comparative literature is the study of literature beyond the confines of one particular country and the study of the relationships between literature on one hand and other areas of knowledge and belief, such as the (fine ) arts, philosophy, history, the social sciences, religion, etc. on the other. … it is the comparison of one literature with another or others, and the comparison of literature with other spheres of human expression.

Within these definitions, 5 approaches to literature impose themselves: the study of :
- themes; myths, genres and forms, movements and eras, interrelations of literature with other arts and discipline, the involvement of literature as illustrative of evolving literary theory and criticism. The ideal situation of comparative literature is when it can use all the above 5 approaches, in order to achieve a meaningful comparison.

Myths- a traditional or legendary story, has 3 functions: it tells a story, it explains, and it reveals. Very interesting is the fact that for eg. the fables of the Greek mythology can be given an exclusive abstract sense: in the 20th century Prometheus represents exclusively the figure of revolt. Literary myth- is born from literature: myth can be historically dated and attributed to a given author. For instance, the birth of Don Juan can be estimated around 1619. But once consecrated, Don Juan gained its autonomy and became independent...
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