According to Hilal (1975), thesignificance of comparative literature in the Arab world can be chiefly inenhancing people’s national personality and increasing their nationalawareness; moreover, it brings into view the originality of the national spiritin relation to humanity in general (p.
4). At its very beginning in the earlytwentieth century, no special attention was paid to comparative literature inthe Arab world. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, Arabic comparative literaturewitnessed a fast theoretical development (khezri, 2015, p. 43). Chazoul (2006)has stated that early Arab comparatists such as Ruhi Al-khalidi (1864-1913) whohas written the first book on comparative literature, pursued the West inconducting comparative literary studies.Since the 1980s, comparativeliterature has become a university subject in several insituitons of highereducation across the Arab world.
Arab scholars, especially Muhammad GhunaymiHilal (1916-1968), have also applied the traditional French school to theircomparative literary studies and then, they shifted to other new theories likethose of the American school, reception, Marxism, and the postcolonial theories(Khezri, 2015, p. 43). With the increasing interest in comparative literarystudies, Arab scholars tried to develop their own theory in this field.However, the Arabic school of comparative literature has had very little to addto the prevailing Western theories (khezri, 2015, p. 45).
In his book, Al-Adabal-Muqarin: Mush’kilat wa Afaq (Comparative Literature: Problems and Horizons),Abood (1999) states that comparative literature deals with the fast process ofglobalization as an essential issue. He has also endeavored to prove thatcomparative literature can be of great importance in treating significantissues in contemporary Arabic literature, and this cannot be carried outwithout comparative literature and its national, regional, or internationaldimensions (pp. 4-5). Like Wellek, Abood has proposed that the American schoolof comparative literature is an approach wherein literary phenomena are studiedin a way that transcends the national barriers.Given that the principle literaryphenomena, in all their kinds and trends, do not pertain to a single nationalliterature, the American school of comparative literature insists on studyingthese phenomena within their natural framework rather than creating a frameworkby the comparatist (Madhi, 2003, pp.
84-87). Moreover, any significantphenomenon that surfaces in literature, as a result of the early socialdevelopment of the society wherein that literature has been written, willinevitably reappear in other literatures. Its appearance, however, cannot beconsidered as a mere consequence of the influence feature. Still, it is adirect consequence of the social conditions of the societies in which theseother literatures are written, regardless of the time of that phenomenon’semergence (Wellek & Warren, 1956, pp. 102-104). Accordingly, the questionof literary development is strongly correlated to the development of thesociety; however, it depends on the time of its emergence.
Literatures passthrough the same historical stages and witness the emergence of the same basicliterary forms and trends.