Abstract

What can scholars of comparative literature learn from other fields about theories and practices of comparison? This article turns to actor-network theory (ANT) and its explorations of translation, comparison, and similar terms. ANT, it argues, offers an intriguing angle on such modes of relation. In literary studies, comparison has often been subject to stringent critique, accused of imposing false equivalences and oppressive forms of homogenization. Perhaps, however, we can flip things around, reassessing critique via a stress on the complexities of comparison. ANT, as we will see, offers a relational ontology, in contrast to the ethos of negativity that has dominated literary studies in recent years.

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