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Remarks on Inclusive Comparison

  • Souleymane Bachir Diagne

At the center of Joseph Slaughter’s important address is the question of inclusion. It appears in the phrase “inclusive comparison.” The remark he makes in a footnote about “non-privileged (generally minor and/or minority) commentators in the world of letters who compared literature from marginal places to the literature from Europe” is particularly interesting as it speaks of pioneers of sort who dared to take seriously the “exhortation to compare” beyond established and conventional borders and bring into the literary conversation other literatures. I would like to develop a few reflections inspired to me by the notion of “inclusive comparison” by examining first the very concept of “comparison” and by considering the lessons to be drawn from the works of a couple of pioneers of “inclusive comparison” bringing in African literature: Abbé Grégoire and Blaise Cendrars.

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1 Of course, I have in mind here, the well-known declaration by Etiemble that “comparative literature is humanism.”

2 The narrative, told by Sainte-Beuve, is reported in Pageaux, Daniel-Henri, La littérature générale et comparée (Paris: Armand Colin, 1994).

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Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry
  • ISSN: 2052-2614
  • EISSN: 2052-2622
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-journal-of-postcolonial-literary-inquiry
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