IMAGES OF REMOTE COUNTRIES IN THE LITERATURES OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: ON THE THEORETICAL STARTING POINTS OF INTERCULTURAL COMPARATIVE STUDIES
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In Central and Eastern Europe, the research into inter-literary relations traditionally drew on national concerns emerging naturally from the proximity of a great number of neighbouring nation states with their distinct cultures, or national minorities living within a majority culture. Yet the contacts or relationships with structurally and typologically different cultures have remained outside of critical attention. Studying them requires not only some knowledge of the extra literary context in which those cultures are situated, but a methodologically different approach as well, such as is used in postcolonial or decolonial theory, Orientalism, imagology, etc. The paper draws attention to the problems connected with comparisons using these approaches, especially imagology, as their main methodological tool. At the same time, it aims at finding out how such approaches contribute to the understanding of cultural, ethnic, biological or material “otherness” (especially through stereotyped imago typical structures), and whether it is possible to transfer, for example, the imagological concepts historically created in a certain context to a cultural area of a different civilization, and use them to analyse the nature of the literary.
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