The Art of Comparison
How Novels and Critics Compare

Catherine Brown

Studies In Comparative Literature 23

Legenda

12 May 2011  •  210pp

ISBN: 978-1-906540-81-4 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-351193-51-1 (Taylor & Francis ebook)

ModernEnglishRussianFictionTranslation


Comparison underlies all reading. Readers compare words to words, and books to all the other books which they have read. Some books, however, demand a particular comparative effort - for example, novels which contain parallel plot lines. In this ambitious and important study Catherine Brown compares Daniel Deronda with Anna Karenina and Women in Love in order to answer the following questions: why does one protagonist in each novel fail whilst another succeeds? Can their failure and success be understood on the same terms? How do the novels' uses of comparison compare to each other? How relevant is George Eliot's influence on Lev Tolstoi, and Tolstoi's on D. H. Lawrence? Does Tolstoi being a Russian make this a 'comparative' literary study? And what does the 'comparative' in 'comparative literature' actually mean? Criticism is combined with metacriticism, to explore how novels and critics compare.

Catherine Brown is a lecturer in English at New College, Oxford.

Reviews:

  • ‘Brown's core chapters gracefully use varied conceptual tools and interdisciplinary viewpoints, all of which are engagingly woven into an organic whole, so that the reader emerges from this ambitious enterprise appreciating what notable work can be done when translation theory and practice are not seen as separate entities but as intercommunicative.’ — Andrew Radford, Translation and Literature 20, 2011, 403-08
  • ‘Dexterously connects Eliot, Tolstoy and Lawrence to the considerations of nationalism and supranationalism at the heart of critical debates within and about comparative literary scholarship... Convincingly demonstrates that we as literary critics should open our ears and our minds to unlikely literary conversations, as well as the fresh knowledge and pleasure we may glean from them.’ — Katherine Anderson, George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies 62-63 (September 2012), 124-26

Bibliography entry:

Brown, Catherine, The Art of Comparison: How Novels and Critics Compare, Studies In Comparative Literature, 23 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2011)

First footnote reference: 35 Catherine Brown, The Art of Comparison: How Novels and Critics Compare, Studies In Comparative Literature, 23 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2011), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Brown, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Brown, Catherine. 2011. The Art of Comparison: How Novels and Critics Compare, Studies In Comparative Literature, 23 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Brown 2011: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Brown 2011: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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