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??? COMPAKATIST EDITOR'S COLUMN: THE COMPARATIST IS TRANSITION This issue of The Comparatisi, the last to be produced during my sixyear term as editor, continues to demonstrate our journal's openness to varied topics and methods. This year's eight essays consider issues ofliterary genre, artistic medium, theoretical approach, and cross-cultural contact, thus displaying several distinct options within comparative literary and cultural study. Given our field's tendency to give ever more emphasis to narrative since the 1960s, I want to draw special attention to our first group ofarticles, which deals with poetry from several different languages, specifically with longer lyrics. The next unit gives a new, more theory-oriented twist to our journal's traditional interest in interart comparisons, in this case ones combining the verbal and the visual. Our third and final unit studies the cross-cultural contexts for the emergence oftwo names—Pinocchio and Transylvania—thatby now resonate powerfully within international popular culture. In the process, both of these essays suggest one possible response to the cultural studies movement on the part of comparative literature scholars. Considered as a group, the three essays on the longer lyric are comparative in several ways. In juxtaposing works from three languages and from three periods notedfortheir poetry (the Renaissance, Romanticism, and Modernism), this unit moves from the dialogical interaction between the younger Milton's paired poems, "L'Allegro" and "? Penseroso"; to a more general, philosophical response to Hölderlin's great odes; then to a close reading of Russian émigré Vladislav Khodasevich's "Sorrento Photographs." Each poet, moreover, is writing in situations that involve major cross-cultural transactions: in Milton's case, the legacy ofTasso's reflections on the dialogue as a genre; in Hölderlin's, the political and social issues raised by the French revolution; and in Khodasevich's, the deepening experience ofexile a decade after the Russian revolution. Two ofthe articles are comparative in the additional sense ofraising important interdisciplinary questions. Hölderlin's intense lyricism strongly influenced Heidegger's reflections on the relations between poetry and philosophy , reflections that essayist Andreas Grossman contends need to be rethought given Heidegger's political failings. The abrupt transitions in Khodasevich's poem, meanwhile, can be usefully compared with concurrent Russian theories of cinematic montage, as shown by last year's Rutledge prize winner, Jason Brooks. This aspect of the poem amplifies the verbal/visual confluence that also marks one ofits guiding images—a double-exposed photograph that becomes a metaphor for memory. In bringing together so many different grounds for comparison, this unit on the longer lyric demonstrates the fruitfulness of former editor Marcel Comis-Pope's decision to organize our essays in topical groupings . If these essays were read in isolation, and not as an interrelated group, perhaps only Scott Howard's Milton essay, with its explicitly Anglo-Italian topic, might be seen as authentically comparative. Vol 28 (200V: 1 EDITOR'S COLUMN The verbal/visual issues addressed in Brooks's essay anticipate the central theme in the second unit, which treats several points of intersection between the visual and the verbal arts. For Sabine Doran, this intersection takes place within fiction, specifically in a time-sensitive deployment ofparticular colors which, in a witty variation on Bakhtin (and with assists from Auerbach and de Man), she calls "chromotopes." Her choice, the color "yellow" from 1890 to 1930, was deeply ambiguous in its connotations, which could run the gamut from the avant-garde provocations of The Yellow Book to the racist chauvinism of the "Yellow Peril." In such a context, Proust's fascination with the "little yellow patch" in Vermeer's View ofDelft is emblematic, since this brilliant touch ofcolor relied on paint made from the urine of mango-fed cattle, in a process soon to be outlawed because cows could not tolerate the diet. Along with unpacking the many implications of this famous motif, Doran explores the shades ofyellow that appear throughout Petersburg, a major Russian novel by Proust's contemporary, the symbolist Andrei BeIy. She concludes by evoking JosefAlbers' Homage to the Square: (Departing in Yellow ), in which Doran sees an allusion to the yellow stars that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany. In...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0887
Print ISSN
0195-7678
Pages
pp. 1-4
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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