World Literature in Theory
January 2014, ©2014, Wiley-Blackwell
World Literature in Theory provides a definitive exploration of the pressing questions facing those studying world literature today.
- Coverage is split into four parts which examine the origins and seminal formulations of world literature, world literature in the age of globalization, contemporary debates on world literature, and localized versions of world literature
- Contains more than 30 important theoretical essays by the most influential scholars, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Hugo Meltzl, Edward Said, Franco Moretti, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gayatri Spivak
- Includes substantive introductions to each essay, as well as an annotated bibliography for further reading
- Allows students to understand, articulate, and debate the most important issues in this rapidly changing field of study
Part One: Origins 13
1 Conversations with Eckermann on Weltliteratur (1827) 15
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
2 The Emergence of Weltliteratur: Goethe and the Romantic School
3 Present Tasks of Comparative Literature (1877) 35
4 What Is World Literature? (1886) 42
Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett
5 World Literature (1907) 47
6 A View on the Unification of Literature (1922) 58
Part Two: World Literature in the Age of Globalization 69
7 Reflections on Yiddish World Literature (1938–1939)
Melekh Ravitsh and Borekh Rivkin
8 Should We Rethink the Notion of World Literature? (1974)
9 Constructing Comparables (2000) 99
10 Traveling Theory (1982) 114
Edward W. Said
11 Toward World Literary Knowledges: Theory in the Age of
Globalization (2010) 134
12 Conjectures on World Literature (2000) and More Conjectures
13 World Literature without a Hyphen: Towards a Typology of
Literary Systems (2008) 180
14 Literature as a World (2005) 192
15 Globalization and Cultural Diversity in the Book Market: The
Case of Literary Translations in the US and in France (2010)
16 From Cultural Turn to Translational Turn: A Transnational
Journey (2011) 234
Part Three: Debating World Literature 247
17 Stepping Forward and Back: Issues and Possibilities for
“World” Poetry (2004) 249
18 To World, to Globalize: World Literature’s Crossroads
19 For a World-Literature in French (2007) 271
Michel Le Bris et al.
20 For a Living and Popular Francophonie (2007) 276
21 Francophonie and Universality: The Ideological Challenges of
Littérature-monde (2009) 279
22 Universalisms and Francophonies (2009) 293
23 Orientalism and the Institution of World Literatures (2010)
Aamir R. Mufti
24 Against World Literature (2013) 345
25 Comparative Literature/World Literature: A Discussion (2011)
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and David Damrosch
Part Four: World Literature in the World 389
26 The Argentine Writer and Tradition (1943) 391
Jorge Luis Borges
27 Cultures and Contexts (2001) 398
Tania Franco Carvalhal
28 An Idea of Literature: South Africa, India, the West (2001)
29 The Deterritorialization of American Literature (2007)
30 Islamic Literary Networks in South and Southeast Asia (2010)
31 Rethinking the World in World Literature: East Asia and
Literary Contact Nebulae (2009) 460
Karen Laura Thornber
32 Global Cinema, World Cinema (2010) 480
33 The Strategy of Digital Modernism: Young-hae Chang Heavy
Industries’ Dakota (2008) 493
Epilogue: The Changing Concept of World Literature 513
David Damrosch is Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He is the founding general editor of the six-volume Longman Anthology of World Literature (2004), the editor of Teaching World Literature (2009), and co-editor of the Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature (2009). He is also the author of How to Read World Literature (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008) and The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh (2007). His current research projects include a book on the discipline of comparative literature and a book on the role of global scripts in the formation of national literatures. He is the founding director of the Institute for World Literature at Harvard University.
“With this collection of essays, David Damrosch takes us
on a breathtaking ride through the history and geography of the
term “world literature” – and demonstrates that
it is quite simply the most productive concept in literary theory
—Martin Puchner, Harvard University
“Vigorous and capacious, featuring unexpected contributors
such as Nicolas Sarkozy, and covering material ranging from the
globe-trotting work of Apuleius to the digital modernism of
Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, this impressive volume recovers
genealogies of world literature from India, China, Brazil,
Ireland. Putting the problematics of translation front and
center, it creates a rich dialogue across languages and regions,
even as it brings new energies to world literature in the age of
—Wai Chee Dimock, Yale University
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