“Working in the And Zone: Comparative Literature and Translation” argues that in conjunction with translation and translation studies comparative literature can offer new energy and purpose to the humanities today. The paper considers the changing roles of comparative literature in the twentieth century, as well as the recent importance of translation and translation studies to our field. Pointing to some deep similarities of method and aim between the two areas of study—particularly their dependence upon the analogical and abductive methods associated with and—it also underscores some key differences. I argue above all for the gains to be had in “thinking translation” as we go about our increasingly transnational and interdisciplinary teaching and writing in comparative literature. These gains include a range of new questions affecting what we mean by “text,” and “close reading,” as well as political, religious, and commercial issues connected to the writing and transmission of literary works. They also include an invigorated awareness of the ways in which questions of “foreign” and “home,” other and same, might find a place in a more dialogic and responsive mode of reading. In ways such as these, thinking translation in tandem with comparative literature will encourage the kind of collaborative re-imaginings especially important to the humanities of the twenty-first century.
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SANDRA BERMANN; Working in the And Zone: Comparative Literature and Translation. Comparative Literature 1 September 2009; 61 (4): 432–446. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-2009-025
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