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Comparative literature basically compares two or more literary texts in terms of context and form and searches for similarity and variation between the texts. Comparative literary studies develops its research area with the study of texts from different national literatures and it contributes to the generalization of the term “Weltliteratur.” Comparative literature is an active discipline all over the world, especially in Europe and the USA. The pioneer schools of comparative literature are the French school and the American school. While the French school is called “influence studies” as it mainly focuses on influence between national literatures and writers, the American school is called “analogy studies” with its focus onparallel studies. For decades, these two schools are dominant approaches in comparative literature. Variation theory, which is the main subject of this research, was put forward by Chinese scholar Shunqing Cao in 2000s. This theory was formed in accordance with the thought that Western theories of comparative literature are inadequate for the comparative literary studies of today’s world. Also called as Chinese school, this approach draws a frame for comparing variation and emphasizes that variation is important as much as similarity in comparative literature. In this study, the French school and the American school will be examined together with Variation Theory’s critique of these schools. Also, the theory will be introduced with its general features. Besides, it will be questioned whether this theory is suitable for comparative literary studies in Turkey along with the critique of and suggestions for the theory.

Comparative literature, the American school, the French school, variation, Variation Theory.

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