Comparative Literature as Educational Means of Understanding and Communication

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Abstract

The paper explores possibilities of a more intensive use of comparative literature within literary education in which the adoration of national literature prevails together with the abstraction of the concept of world literature. This means putting more emphasis on area and comparative approaches. Emphasising comparative literature may bring in a search and respect for otherness, since it is not connected to any national language and literature, to any concrete tradition and culture, but refers to their variability, with the aim of explaining the contact with the other, which can be close as well as different. More effort should be put especially on the attempt to point to the interconnectedness and mutual influencing. The so-called educational, didactically applied comparatistics is a field of comparative literary studies aimed at overcoming binary, ethnolinguistic opposition of “the national” and “the worldly” in education, and, as far as literary education is concerned, it could become a new methodological stimulus. As a methodological basis of this educational comparative studies is being used the hermeneutic understanding of otherness, though not the interculturally remote one, but a close otherness which exists, for example, in the intertextuality of a particular work emerging within the framework of the “neighbourhood” of common Central European area. What is meant here is, first of all, the so-called innovated imagology, concentrated on the interpretation of images by means of which verbal text renders foreign countries and nations. The overall meaning of imagological impulses can also be seen on the weakening of the opposition of the traditional categories of “national” and “world”, as well as in the overcoming of the ideas of some cultures being more developed at the expense of other ones. Applying the area and comparative approach, educational comparative studies may facilitate the dialogue of literature as art also with other spheres, and have integrating as well as didactic function, or develop the feeling of mutuality and the ability to “compare”, not only in linguistic and ethnic circumstances, but in the value-contextual ones as well.

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