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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Prologue to the “Quest'


At a seminar on ‘Comparative Literature: Theory and Practice’ held at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, in June 1987, the late Sisir Kumar Das initiated the deliberations with the following words:

Eighty years ago, Rabindranath Tagore spoke about Comparative Literature, a discipline still in search of its identity and academic recognition in the West, and vaguely known in India. The sincerity of Tagore's intention was not doubted by anyone, but in the absence of a concrete programme no one dared to introduce a course in Comparative Literature in Indian universities. Even half a century later, when a department of Comparative Literature was established for the first time in this country, many eyebrows were raised, and many more openly questioned the legitimacy of its academic status. And today, thirty one years after the institution of that department, although the number of universities in India has almost doubled, the number of the departments of Comparative Literature has not increased. However, this arithmetic does not tell us the whole truth about the changes in attitudes in our literature faculties. During the last fifteen years or so, several associations have come up, and several departments of single literature have introduced courses that are known as Comparative Literature. These are indications of a new urge for the reorganisation of the existing literature faculties. It is the appropriate time, therefore, to think about the right place of Comparative Literature in our universities or in our educational system.

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Quest of a Discipline
  • Online ISBN: 9788175969346
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