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Abstract

In his article, "On the Comparison of Interliterary Configurations," Armin Paul Frank proposes to draw conceptual and methodological conclusions from what comparatists know but do not always act upon, namely that comparison is essential to an understanding of literature because most authors of primary literature write comparatistically. They inscribe in their texts similarities or differences or both to extant international (and national) texts and sources. This is how literary meaning is produced, this is how status is implicitly but effectively ascribed to works, authors, and literatures, and thus resulting in (inter)cultural work including the enriching of a national literature. From a comprehensive perspective, this is how the history of literature -- which differs from, but is not unrelated to, the history of literary life -- is being made: Not intra-nationally nor in the context of an indiscriminate internationality but within configured sets of more or less closely connected literatures that change throughout time. In order to outline the internationalist making of American literatures and to compare typically American configurations of interliterary processes, Frank presents a number of such interliterary configurations.

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