The discipline of comparative literature and its emphasis on ethno-linguistic units ‘to be compared’ seems quite inappropriate as a model for approaching the study of a thoroughly industrialized cultural form such as cinema. There is no need even to recall the complicity between comparative literature and comparative religion and that Goethe’s notion of ‘world literature’ gestured towards the alleged universality of Western-Christian values as the yard-stick with which to measure the degree of a particular, ‘regional’ literary work’s adherence to a norm deemed to be universal. Nevertheless, it is precisely the whiff of clerical thinking that attaches to comparative literature that provides a clue as to why the notion of comparative film studies may be worth considering, mutatis mutandis.

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