Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages Series

The Coordinating Committee for the Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages Series (CHLEL) was launched by the ICLA in 1967. Its purpose is to publish a series of comparative historical studies, each edited by an international team of scholars. This ongoing project is based on two fundamental premises. First of all, the writing of literary histories confined to specific nations, peoples, or languages must be complemented by the writing of literary history that coordinates related or comparable phenomena from an international point of view. Secondly, it is almost impossible for individual scholars to write such comprehensive histories, which implies we must now rely on structured teamwork drawing collaborators from different nations. The editorial Coordinating Committee that supervises this series consists of sixteen scholars from various countries (ICLA Coordinating Committee).

CHLEL publishes four forms of literary histories. Read our Mission statement to find out more.

Acknowledgement of Support

The Comparative History of  Literatures in European Languages (CHLEL) is a publication series that benefits from the patronage of the Union Académique Internationale and is supported by the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA)

Since its inception in 1967 the Coordinating Committee’s work has been supported at different times by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Académie royale de Belgique, the Royal Society of Canada, the Academia Europea, the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study of the Dutch Academy, and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

New volume: Landscapes of Realism: Rethinking Literary Realism in Comparative Perspectives. Volume I: Mapping Realism.
Edited by Dirk Göttsche, Rosa Mucignat, and Robert Weninger. 2021, xvii, 814 pp. Published by John Benjamins.


Few literary phenomena are as elusive and yet as persistent as realism. While it responds to the perennial impulse to use literature to reflect on experience, it also designates a specific set of literary and artistic practices that emerged in response to Western modernity. Landscapes of Realism is a two-volume collaborative interdisciplinary exploration of this vast territory, bringing together leading-edge new criticism on the realist paradigms that were first articulated in nineteenth-century Europe but have since gone on globally to transform the literary landscape. Tracing the manifold ways in which these paradigms are developed, discussed and contested across time, space, cultures and media, this first volume tackles in its five core essays and twenty-five case studies such questions as why realism emerged when it did, why and how it developed such a transformative dynamic across languages, to what extent realist poetics remain central to art and popular culture after 1900, and how generally to reassess realism from a twenty-first-century comparative perspective.​