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‘Translation plays vital role in comparative literature study'

Special Correspondent

THANJAVUR: Translation plays an important role in the study of comparative literature, said A. Manavalan, former professor, Madras University, here on Thursday.

Participating at an international seminar on comparative literature organised by the Department of Foreign Tamil Studies of Tamil University, Manavalan said without translations, many scholars may not be able to compare various literatures.

"That is why I have been insisting that separate departments for translation should be set up in universities. We have to introduce degree, post-graduate and research courses in translation per se," he said.

Comparative literature study should go beyond barriers of countries, language, time, and they have to be inter-cultural and inter- social. "It is not enough if they (comparative study) are national or international. Many of the comparative studies are found to be superficial touching only the elite group. They should become inclusive of all such as tribals and the downtrodden," Manavalan said.

He regretted that in India, comparative literature study was limited to comparing works in the same language or languages of India.

It has not even crossed our country. Tracing the history of comparative literature to 1835, Manvalan said it spread to American and European countries later.

Separate departments were started for comparative literature study in foreign universities in the course of time.

M.Rajendran, Vice Chancellor, Tamil University, said life evolved only by comparison as it helped bring out differences and identities in the objects or persons taken for comparison.

V. Irai Anbu, Secretary, Department of Forests and Environment, said while the body language is the same throughout the world for human being, mannerism differed in individuals.

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