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??? COMPAKATIST EDITOR'S COLUMN: THE MAKINGS OF AN AWARD-A RETROSPECTIVE Twenty years ago, when the first issue of The Comparatisi was published, an important aspiration ofcomparative scholars in the South came to be realized. Established in 1977 as an outlet for the scholarly work generated by the Southern Comparative Literature Association— the only regional organization devoted to comparative studies in the United States—The Comparatisi evolved under the editorship ofJeanne J. Smoot (1977-1982) ofNorth Carolina State University, and Mechthild Cranston (1983-1991) of Clemson University, from a venue for conference proceedings into ajournal in its own right. With such distinguished mentors as Harry C. Rutledge, who conceived the idea for this journal, and Patrick Brady, who baptized it, The Comparatist has remained faithful to its name, featuring articles that make consistent use of a comparative and intercultural approach to explore works from different cultural areas, media, or national traditions of literature. My predecessors , Jeanne J. Smoot and Mechthild Cranston, were particularly successful in defining a number of thematic areas that came to be associated with this journal, such as the comparative study of literary and cultural movements, literature and the arts, relationships among European and North American literatures, and translation theory and practice. Other non-traditional areas of comparison, such as inter-American relations, East-West exchanges, Third World studies, and popular culture, were sporadically reflected in the earlier issues. During Mechthild Cranston's nine-year tenure, the journal extended its visibility and readership to every state and a number offoreign countries, gaining subscriptions from every major American university library and a few foreign ones. Contributers included distinguished comparatists from around the country, as well as young scholars who published their first essays in our journal. Beginning with volume XVI (1992), The Comparatist has come under a new editorship whose main goals have been to diversify the journal's scholarly focus, improve its structure and circulation, and significantly enhance its national visibility by actively engaging in the contemporary theoretical and professional debates. Six years and as many issues later, The Comparatist can boast a new and improved thematic structure, general design, circulation, and appeal, having truly become a national forum for literary and cultural comparatists. In its current format, The Comparatist publishes articles and reviews in a broad range ofcross-cultural and interdisciplinary areas, some well represented in previous issues, others new, such as Afro-Caribbean, Third World, and East European literary exchanges. These have gelled into rubrics easily recognized by our readers: Theoretical Debates, Comparative Poetics, Literary and Cultural Intertextuality, Interartistic Dialogues, Postcolonial and Borderline Contexts, Eastern Texts Read through Western Theories, Oriental/Occidental Frames, and so on. Recent issues have also included Voi/. 21 (1997): 1 EDITOR'S COLUMN special clusters of articles on topical themes: the debate over the new standards in comparative literature (with position papers from JeanPierre Barricelli, Henry Sussman, and Elaine Martin); postcolonial theory applied to Irish literature; the problems of representation. The essays published in each issue are carefully arranged and introduced by the editor so as to highlight their intertextual dialogue. The "dialogic" aspect ofthe journal is enhanced by the ample review section organized by our review editor, John Burt Foster, Jr., around prominent comparative -thematic issues such as the future ofcomparatism, new literary methodologies, comparative studies in the Arab world, African literatures , and so on. Every issue has included at least one major reviewessay which introduced readers to new research interests, as well as a number ofarticles thatproposed significant thematic and methodological departures: "The Waste Land as a Surrealist Poem" (Nancy Hargrove and Paul Grootkerk), "Poetry in Modern Ireland: Where Postcolonial and Postmodern Part Ways" (Christina Hunt Mahony), "Minor and Major Love in Ovid and Kundera" (Radu Turcanu), "Postmodernism and the Crisis of the Sacred in Maghreb Literature" (Lucy Stone McNeece), "Borderless and Brazen: Ethnicity Redefined by Afro-German and Turkish-German Poets" (Karein Goertz), "Women's Domestic Quest: Minimal Journeys and Their Frames" (P. T. Whelan), "Biedermeyer Cultural Intertextuality in Transylvania" (Virgil Nemoianu), and others. Thus, both the individual essays and the reviews participate in a broad professional dialogue, seeking opportunities for a lively exchange ofideas which does not exclude scholarly polemics. This dialogue is enriched by the...


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