Between 1969 and 1979, Edward Said redefined American comparative literature, coining phrases, supplying a new critical pantheon (Vico, Schwab), and, above all, devising a method. Falling between generations and facing two different kinds of continental èèmigrèè——one philological, the other textualist——Said outmaneuvered the latter by reinterpreting the former. In a two-pronged move, he unleashed an arsenal of arguments against both new critical formalism and its latter-day avatars in ““theory.”” With these arguments, his authority was penetrating and atmospherically felt as he chipped away at the edifice of traditional comparative literature by emphasizing the situatedness of form and the transitive intelligence of humanist intellectuals.
EDWARD SAID AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
Timothy Brennan is professor of comparative literature, cultural studies, and English at the University of Minnesota and director of the Humanities Institute. He is the author of At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now (Harvard University Press, 1997), Salman Rushdie and the Third World: Myths of the Nation (Macmillan, 1989), and has edited and introduced Alejo Carpentier's Music in Cuba (University of Minnesota Press, 2001). He has just completed a book titled The End of the Beginning: The Turn in Contemporary American Culture.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Timothy Brennan; EDWARD SAID AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE. Journal of Palestine Studies 1 April 2004; 33 (3): 23–37. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2004.33.3.023
Download citation file: