One of the many paradoxes of the globalization of culture has been the rapid fading out of comparative literature. The rise of world literature, which studies everything but only in English, as well as the current hegemony of postcolonial studies, which has raised a deep suspicion toward all traditional Western literatures, have had a devastating impact on the comparative analysis of national literary studies and traditions. Key in this regard is the convergence of these phenomena with two other trends: first, the increased importance of “theory,” which in practice is often at the expense of close reading and perhaps even the reading of primary materials in themselves; second is the inevitable tension, in terms of attention (that is, time), between the reading of literary texts, often long and extremely time-consuming, and the new, more fragmented forms of cultural consumption and interaction in the digital era. Comparative literature has faced serious...

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