This the­saurus is a for­mal­ized glos­sary of terms and con­cepts used in com­par­a­tive lit­er­a­ture, trans­la­tion the­ory, com­par­a­tive prosody and com­par­a­tive poet­ics.

Structure and composition

The thesaurus comprises terms linked by certain relations. The system of relations is represented as a “vertical” hierarchical structure supplemented by “horizontal” non-hierarchical relations (such as synonymy and an alternative position in the hierarchy).

Each term has an entry associated with it; each entry contains a set of fields with corresponding field values. Entries can be accessed by jumping to the required entry either from the structure or from the glossary. There are three types of entries: full entries, abridged entries (these are entries on subsidiary synonyms—see below for details), and entries under construction (they have a minimum set of fields required for positioning in the structure).

All terms are divided into two categories: “disciplines” that denote various fields of studies (translation studies, poetics, verse studies, etc.) and “subjects” that denote specific concepts used in the field (literal translation, comedy, iamb, etc.). Disciplines are marked in bold type.

The following parent-child relations between terms are possible: “heading – branch (subdiscipline)” (between two disciplines, e.g. “verse studies – metrics”), “discipline – subject” (between a discipline and one of its subject, e.g. “metrics – meter”), and “generic concept – specific concept” (between two subjects of the same discipline, e.g. “meter – iamb”). The corresponding relation types are “discipline – discipline”, “discipline – subject” and “subject – subject”. In the graph structure (on which see below), these relations are differentiated by the thickness of the lines representing them.

Other relations are not hierarchical. They are exposed in the entry fields but are not represented in the structure (this is, for example, the relationship between synonyms). Furthermore, sometimes the relationships between terms are fundamentally networked. In order to maintain the tree structure, references to the alternative location of the term are placed at the appropriate position in the hierarchy (“reference term”).

The thesaurus is limited to Russian, Romance and Germanic literatures. The terminology that characterizes Ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic, Indian and other traditions is excluded (at least, at the first stage of the project).

System of headings

The structure of the thesaurus is visualized in two forms: a rubric list and a graph. The user can switch from a list to a graph and back.

The thesaurus has eight first-level headings. Headings containing limited terminology, i.e. only terms pertaining to this project, are marked with an asterisk:

  1. Literary Theory
  2. Comparative Literature
  3. History of Literature
  4. Sociology of Literature
  5. Psychology of Literature
  6. Textual Scholarship
  7. Hermeneutics
  8. History of Literary Theory

A hyperlink from each term included in the structure leads to the entry on this term. At the top of the entry, you can see the structure path. The path is linked back to the structure; click the path element to jump to the corresponding location in the structure. When you click on a reference term in the structure, you will jump to the alternative location of this term.

Entry fields

Each entry contains the following set of fields:

  1. term
  2. term category
  3. entry type
  4. permutation
  5. alternative spelling(s)
  6. author(s) of the term
  7. etymology
  8. equivalents in other languages
  9. synonym(s)
  10. definition
  11. alternative definitions
  12. scheme
  13. example
  14. usage contexts (quotations)
  15. generic concept
  16. alternative generic concept
  17. specific concepts
  18. heading
  19. alternative heading
  20. branch (subdiscipline)
  21. discipline
  22. alternative discipline
  23. subject(s)
  24. whole
  25. components (parts)
  26. contiguity (between parts of the same whole)
  27. sources
  28. author of the entry
  29. how to cite this entry

Only the fields that represent the parent-child relations are required in each entry. Other fields can be partially completed and filled up later. Some fields are not fillable for certain types of terms (for example, a discipline cannot have a scheme).

The thesaurus is an evolving system, which is regularly updated with new terms and relations. New values are added to all fields on a regular basis. Hyperlinks from the field values referring to the texts available in the Library subsystem lead to the corresponding texts.


In the entries, the relations of synonymy are exposed in field 9. You can jump from one synonym to another via the hyperlinks from the field values of field 9.

For convenience, one synonym is singled out from a synonymic series and is declared the “main” synonym, to which the child terms are subordinated. Subsidiary synonyms of subjects have no subordinate terms. Subsidiary synonyms of disciplines are not represented in the structure but they are included in the glossary.


The glossary includes:

  • all terms presented in the structure, except for reference terms,
  • all alternative spellings of terms featured in field 5 of all entries,
  • all permutations of terminological phrases featured in field 4 of all entries,
  • all synonyms of disciplines featured in field 9 of all entries.

In the glossary, alternative spellings of terms, permutation variants, and subsidiary synonyms have distinctive visual markers.