Ken Seigneurie’s article on “The Institution and the Practice of Comparative Literature in Lebanon” inaugurates in splendid fashion a new, occasional department of CLS, “Comparative Literature: The View from …” that we hope will eventually attract a range of contributions from a variety of geographical locations. If the heart of comparative literature is transcultural analysis, we wish to extend such analysis to the discipline itself: comparative literature has experienced different histories, goals, and modalities in its institutionalizations across the globe. We welcome essays of four thousand words or longer from scholars who teach in or administer comparative literature/cultural studies programs outside of North America. We are eager to learn how comparative literature makes its living in your part of the world!
Seigneurie’s masterful narrative provides a glimpse into the parlous life of comparative literature in Lebanon; it is a tale that necessitates both a broader survey of the foothold that comparative literature has gained in the Arab world in general, and a parallel recounting of the political and military events that alternately further and hinder comparative scholarship. Given these complexities, comparative literature flourishes best in Lebanon through the efforts of “quietly determined scholars who work between institutional structures and in the face of historical conditions.” We thank Ken Seigneurie for this insightful lesson.