This is the first of three volumes of essays selected from Review of National Literatures
, the prestigious annual series of Council on National Literatures (1970–2001).
Praised here and abroad as a "pioneer" effort and a model of what comparative literary studies should encourage, RNL enjoyed a wide distribution both in the United States and in over forty foreign countries. It offered member libraries and other suscribers carefully prepared "overviews" of literatures not in the traditional canon as well as unusual approaches to familiar European-authors and literary movements.
Included in this first RNL "sampler" are essays on multi-comparative literary perspectives, Japanese translators of Shakespeare, the Chinese "Enlightenment," Hungary's "neglected" literatures, and three essays about the important work on early America by Justin Winsor, the first librarian of Harvard and co-founder of the American Historical Association.