‘Practice and principles’ asks what it means to ‘do’ comparative literature. A number of basic principles can be identified as constitutive of comparative literature’s disciplinary practice and they can be considered as conceptual pairs: topics versus methods; periods versus regions; close versus distant reading; the canon versus the counter-canon; genres versus styles; and writers versus readers. When considering the practices and principles of comparative literature, it is important to consider them from the perspective of both creators and critics. This double perspective is emerging as a focal point for the discipline. Readers cannot compare without writers, and writers cannot compare without reading.