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How to Read World Literature

ISBN: 978-1-4051-6827-4
152 pages
November 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
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How to Read World Literature addresses the unique challenges faced by a reader confronting foreign literature. Accessible and enlightening, Damrosch offers readers the tools to navigate works as varied as Homer, Sophocles, Kalidasa, Du Fu, Dante, Murasaki, Moliere, Kafka, Soyinka, and Walcott.
  • Offers a unique set of "modes of entry” for readers encountering foreign literature
  • Provides readers with the tools to think creatively and systematically about key issues such as reading across time and cultures, reading translated works, and emerging global perspectives
  • Covers a wide variety of genres, from lyric and epic poetry to drama and prose fiction and discusses how these forms have been used in different eras and cultures
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Acknowledgments viii

Introduction 1

1 What Is "Literature"? 6

2 Reading across Time 24

3 Reading across Cultures 46

4 Reading in Translation 65

5 Going Abroad 86

6 Going Global 105

Epilogue: Going Farther 125

Bibliography 130

Index 136

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David Damrosch is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Professor Damrosch's most recent publication is What Is World Literature? (2003), but he is perhaps best known as the general editor of The Longman Anthology of British Literature and of The Longman Anthology of World Literature (2004). From 2001 to 2003 he was President of the American Comparative Literature Association.
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  • Offers a unique “set of modes of entry” for readers encountering foreign literature
  • Provides readers with the tools to think creatively and systematically about key issues such as reading across time and cultures, reading translated works, and emerging global perspectives
  • Covers a wide variety of genres, from lyric and epic poetry to drama and prose fiction and discuss how these forms have been used in different eras and cultures
See More
“Undoubtedly, Damrosch's latest book is a useful tool for prospective readers (especially English-speaking ones) of world literature. It introduces them to major works of world literature and shows them how to read these works, both in their original form and in translation. The author succeeds in his endeavor to launch his readers to ‘read, and read, and read still more.’” (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, April 2009)
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