9.608 LC subjects

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 19:04:00 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 608.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: MIRAN <miran.hladnik@uni-lj.si> (40)
Subject: LCH from the European point of view

On the LCH from the European point of view

The world is much less interconnected than we would like it to be with
respect to the technological possibilities that we have; this is true in
particular of the humanities, which have been confined in their national
frameworks and poorly connected among international institutions in
comparison with their worldly sister, science. Humanities gain their
local status through their primary interest in the local language,
literature and history, which are studied <i>in situ</i> and are hence
called <i>area studies</i> instead of the old expression
<i>humanities</i>, which is beginning to disappear from encyclopedia
entries. In this "logic of space" we find, for example, on the Internet
in the WWW, Slovene linguistics included among East-European Studies,
and this is included under the rubric of Geography. This hierarchization
of disciplines seems to me strange.

I had difficulties from the start in orienting myself in American
libraries since fields in the profession have different names and a
different context than the one that is familiar to me. It is in vain to
search through the keyword index at an American library to try to find
the term <i>literary science</i>, frequently used in Europe. Instead, we
have to search under the keyword <i>literature</i>, which combines
<i>belles lettres</i> and scholarly works on <i>belles lettres</i>.
There is also the modest keyword <i>literature, -research</i>, but no
general keyword for <i>literature, -theory</i>; literary theory is found
subordinated to the extensive field of <i>literature, - history and
criticism</i>. More works are found under the keywords <i>German -,
Italian -, Slovenian literature, -history and criticism</i>, that is,
the viewpoint prevails that literature and literary scholarship are
nationally bounded phenomena and we are primarily interested in them in
the framework of a particular nation. Under the keyword <i>criticism</i>
we find, in addition to books dealing with individual works, also
articles on the methodology of literary criticism and certain works of
literary theory. The term literary criticism in Continental Europe means
merely the day-to-day publicistic criticism and is not a part of
academic literary scholarship.

You can read some more about the European-American incompatibilities in
the literary studies in my article http://www.ijs.si/lit/hum_ang.html.

Prof. Miran Hladnik
Slavic Dept.
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia