In linguistics, the comparative is a syntactic construction that serves to express a comparison between two (or more) entities or groups of entities in quality, or degree. See comparison (grammar) for an overview of comparison, as well as positive and superlative degrees of comparison.
Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the study of literature and cultural expression across linguistic, national, and disciplinary boundaries. Comparative literature "performs a role similar to that of the study of international relations, but works with languages and artistic traditions, so as to understand cultures 'from the inside'". While most frequently practiced with works of different languages, comparative literature may also be performed on works of the same language if the works originate from different nations or cultures among which that language is spoken.
Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature writing is considered to be an art form, or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage.
We cultivate literature on a little oat-meal.
Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir (1855), Volume I, p. 23.
* * * A man of the world amongst men of letters, a man of letters amongst men of the world.
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, On Sir William Temple.
While the guardians of “literary” fiction still give each other prizes and writers can still achieve stardom and create good work, the fact remains that it is a movement that has lost all its creative force as a movement.
Orson Scott Card, Quo Vadis? (Published in Nebula Awards Showcase 2008)