This essay recalls the nineteenth-century roots of comparative literary studies, particularly the consequences of the Cartesian modernization of the philosophical discourse, in order to show the search for an independent methodology proper to the beginnings of the discipline. This occurred first under the strong influence of ideas borrowed from the natural sciences, yet this practice later encountered a wave of criticism, particularly in the twentieth century. Then, comparative literary studies, partly as a result of traumatic historical events, were forced to construct their history using new principles. The increasingly autobiographical discourse that developed within the discipline and the acknowledgment of the problems posed by translation are among the traits characteristic of this period. The proposed description of both phenomena complements the image of comparative literary studies formed under the influence of nineteenth-century impulses.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.