There is a growing sense among scholars working in cognitive literary studies that their assumptions and methodologies increasingly align them with another paradigmatically interdisciplinary field: comparative literature. This introduction to the special issue on cognitive approaches to comparative literature explores points of alignment between the two fields, outlining possible cognitivist interventions into debates that have been animating comparative literature, such as those concerning “universals,” politics of translatability (especially in the context of world literature), and practices of thinking across the boundaries of media. It discusses both fields’ indebtedness to cultural studies, as well as cognitive literary theorists’ commitment to historicizing and their sustained focus on the embodied social mind.

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