Chapter 2 Cultural Transfers in the Shadow of Methodological Nationalism

In: Cultural Transfer Reconsidered
Magnus Qvistgaard
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The article investigates the problem of methodological nationalism in relation to cultural transfers. Focusing on the field of literature, it takes its outset in a critical reading of Pascale Casanova’s seminal work The World Republic of Letters, which sets out a model for analyzing the dynamics of the world literary space. The reading shows how Casanova’s model reinforces the notion of a priori national categories. Drawing on research on the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s path to international success in the late nineteenth century, the article demonstrates how national categories must be historicized. It shows how the agents who facilitated the initial spread of Ibsen’s drama, engaged actively with conflicting notions of national literature thereby challenging, subverting, and ultimately, mutating the national categories. The article thereby stresses the importance of an agent-driven approach to cultural transfers that situates the transfer in its historical context and relies on a plurality of perspectives.

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Cultural Transfer Reconsidered

Transnational Perspectives, Translation Processes, Scandinavian and Postcolonial Challenges

Series:  Approaches to Translation Studies, Volume: 47


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