"Comparative literature," Earl Miner writes, "clearly involves something more than comparing two great German poets, and something different from a Chinese studying French literature or a Russian studying Italian literature." But what would a true intercultural poetics be? This work proposes various ways to "study something other than what are, all things considered, the short and simple annals of one cultural parish at one historic moment."
The first developed account of theories of literature from an intercultural standpoint, the book shows that an "originative" or "foundational" poetics develops in cultures with explicit poetics when critics define the nature and conditions of literature in terms of the then most esteemed genredrama, lyric, or narrative. Earl Miner demonstrates that these definitions and inferences from them constitute useful bases for comparative poetics.
"Comparative Poetics is an important essay for our time and deserves to be read with reflection... Besides representing an elegant example of the comparatist's approach to the texts, its greatest value lies in Miner's understanding of what has, and should not define comparative studies as an academic discipline. In witty, readable prose, he uncovers the mimetic assumptions that have controlled the West's literary theory...Miner's study id provacative and brilliant."--Comparative Literary Studies