The author of this article attempts to sketch out the development of contemporary comparative literature, in which a Eurocentric orientation is being supplanted by a genuine world perspective. In doing so, the author points out that the present-day widening of the research-field to the global dimensions signifies not so much a crisis of the discipline as a reference to the ideas which appeared at the time when comparative studies first emerged as a separate discipline of knowledge. The author takes a closer look at the works of two 19th-century comparative scholars, namely Hugo Meltzl, the Transylvanian founder of the journal Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universarum, and the Irish scholar Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett, noticing in them a number of groundbreaking, though later abandoned, trends for world comparative studies. Meltzl tried to broaden the field of study to include the masterpieces of other cultures and in this way to show some appreciation for the literatures of smaller European states as well as for folk literature. Posnett, on the other hand, looked for links between the development of literature and individual societies and attacked the imperial cosmopolitism prevalent at the time, opting for a specific “global provincialism' of cultures instead.
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