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Russian comparative literature studies development: ideas of A.N. Veselovsky and V.M. Zhirmunsky


We consider the ideas of the largest Russian literature studies scholars of the pre-revolutionary period in Russia, who laid the foundations of literature studies comparativistics. We establish that the modern idea about comparative literature studies is largely determined by the ideas of Russian scientists A.N. Veselovsky and V.M. Zhirmunsky. They developed individual literature studies aspects on the material of various literary facts and phenomena. We prove that on the basis of Russian scientists’ ideas, comparative literature studies were formed within the framework of the cultural and historical school that prevailed at that time, that new methodological principles and approaches are being developed on their basis, which researchers can apply for productive comparative researches in the Post-Soviet territory. We pay attention to the fact that in literature studies comparativistics nowadays emerged its own approaches: a comparative historical approach, in which genetic and contact relationships are studied; comparative typological (matching) approach, which explores thematic, figurative, genre, stylistic similarities and differences: an intertextual approach which incorporates “one text” into “another text”; the approach of inter-literary interactions when studying the translation of the written work. We substantiate that in the aspect of these approaches it is possible to better understand the national identity of national literature.


literature studies, comparativistics, ideas of literature studies, A.N. Veselovsky, V.M. Zhirmunsky

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Literature studies

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