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Abstract  

A quotation in literary history is usually situated in a frame that directs the reader’s attention and defines the possibilities of their interpretations in advance. A literary historian keeps quotations under control and breaks the literary text’s impetus of meaning making. Although literature seems to have the opportunity to sound its own voice in a quotation with the possible ambiguities and endless potentials, the literary historical frame, which introduces and then usually explains the quotations, suspends ambiguities and tries to stop the free play of the signifiers. First of all it fixes a viewpoint from where the text should be looked at, and then explains what is its sense and significance.

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How far can canon and language be sources of (dis)continuity in literary history? Continuity and discontinuity are concepts of such complexity that only philosophers can hope to make a successful attempt to define them in general terms. All I can offer is a tentative analysis of their significance for literary history. Since even such an investigation would ask for a lengthy treatment if conducted on an abstract level, I shall limit myself to reflections on how continuity and discontinuity are related to the concepts of canon and language. In the second half of my paper a personified abstraction called nation will also be introduced with the intention of making some remarks on the legitimacy of the terms national and world literature. The essay also raises the question of whether it is possible to write literary history in a postmodern world.

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Abstract  

Paper presented at the conference 'Literary Histories and the Development of Identities' sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada involving members of the I.C.L.A. Coordinating Committee at Queen's University, Canada, in the Fall of 2001.

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Abstract  

Paper presented at the conference 'Literary Histories and the Development of Identities' sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada involving members of the I.C.L.A. Coordinating Committee at Queen's University, Canada, in the Fall of 2001.

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Abstract  

Paper presented at the conference 'Literary Histories and the Development of Identities' sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada involving members of the I.C.L.A. Coordinating Committee at Queen's University, Canada, in the Fall of 2001.

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Abstract  

Paper presented at the conference 'Literary Histories and the Development of Identities' sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada involving members of the I.C.L.A. Coordinating Committee at Queen's University, Canada, in the Fall of 2001.

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Literary history and comparative literary history

The odds for and against it in scholarship

Neohelicon
Author: Henry Remak

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