Cosmopolitanism and the Postnational

Literature and the New Europe


Volume Editors: and
In recent years postnational theory has become a primary tool for the analysis of European integration. Though interpretations of the concept vary, there is a wide consensus about postnationalism as a way to forge a European identity beyond a particular national history. In line with the German historical context in which this key concept was formulated in the first place, postnationalism is considered to be an adaptation of Kantian cosmopolitanism to the conditions of the modern world. This collection of essays is the first to systematically and comparatively explore the links between postnationalism and cosmopolitanism within the context of the “New Europe”.

Contributors: Susana Araújo, Sibylle Baumbach, Helena Buescu, John Crosetti, Maria DiBattista, César Domínguez, Soren Frank, Birgit Mara Kaiser, Dorothy Odartey-Wellington, Maria Esteves Pereira, Karen-Margrethe Simonsen, Aysegul Turan.

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César Domínguez is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Santiago de Compostela, where he holds the Jean Monnet Chair “The Culture of European Integration”. His teaching and research focus upon theory of comparative literature, European studies, comparative studies in medieval literatures, cosmopolitanism, and world literature. In addition to numerous articles and books on these topics, he is co-editor of the ICLA Coordinating Committee’s two-volume Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula. He is secretary of the ICLA Coordinating Committee, chair of the ICLA Research Committee, member of the Academia Europaea, and vice-president of the Spanish Comparative Literature Association.

Theo D’haen is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Leuven University, Belgium, and earlier taught at Utrecht and Leiden, in The Netherlands. He has published widely on literatures in European languages, (post)modernism, (post)colonialism), and world literature. Recent English-language publications comprise, as author, The Routledge Concise History of World Literature (Routledge 2012) and American Literature: A History (Routledge 2014, with Hans Bertens), and as editor, Caribbeing: Comparing Caribbean Literatures and Cultures (Rodopi 2014, with Kristian van Haesendonck), World Literature: A Reader (Routledge 2013, with César Domínguez and Mads Rosendahl Thomsen), and The Routledge Companion to World Literature(Routledge 2012, with David Damrosch and Djelal Kadir).
“Those wondering about the future of Europe, given the recent political and social difficulties the continent has faced, might be well-advised to turn to César Domínguez and Theo D’haen’s timely collection of essays for possible answers.” - Audrey Louckx, Université de Mons, Belgium, in: Recherche Littéraire/Literary Research, Vol. 33 (2017), pp.218-224
Table of Contents

César Domínguez. “Introduction”

Part 1. Challenging Postnationalism/Cosmopolitanism
Helena Buescu. “Europe between Old and New: Cosmopolitanism Reconsidered”
César Domínguez. “Local Rooms with a Cosmopolitan View? Novels in/on the Limits of European Convergence”
Sibylle Baumbach. “Rooting “New European Literature”: A Reconsideration of the European Myth of the Postnational and Cynical Cosmopolitanism”
Maria DiBattista. “Native Cosmopolitans”

Part 2. What’s New in European Literature?
Susana Araújo. “European Security, European Identity? Fictions of Terror and Transnationality”
Søren Frank. “Globalization, Migration literature, and the New Europe”
Karen-Margrethe Simonsen. “Towards a New Europe? On Emergent and Transcultural Literary Histories”

Part 3. Test Cases on Postnationalism, Cosmopolitanism and the New Europe
John Crosetti. “Europeanization, Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism: Cases in the Crime Fiction of Poe, Gadda and Simenon”
Birgit Mara Kaiser. “The Spaces of Transnational Literature: Or, Where on Earth Are We with Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s Der Hof im Spiegel?”
Dorothy Odartey-Wellington. “Postnational or Postcolonial? Reading Immigrant Writing in Postnational Europe: The Case of Equatorial Guinea and Spain”
Margarida Esteves Pereira. “A Transnational and Transcultural Perspective: Transcending the “Englishness” of English Literature”
Aysegul Turan. “How to Become a “Rudeboy”: Identity Formation and Transformation in Londonstani”
The process of European integration, the EU cultural policies and the European Space of Higher Education are stimulating a revival of “European literature,” whose definition fits neither within the 19th- and 20th-century concept of “Western masterpieces,” nor that of a simple addition to the national canons. Notwithstanding this new interest in the idea of European literature as seen in new university seminars and courses, there are as yet no textbooks or other academic tools that help to approach this issue in a systematic and comparative way.
Academics interested in teaching a “European literature” seminar only have at their disposal textbooks in French —such as the Précis de literature européenne— which still approach the issue from a quite Gallocentric point of view and in which the idea of national literature still plays a key role. The primary market our book aims at is therefore the large undergraduate, graduate, and professional readership that looks for a collection of texts which, instead of offering a synthetic view of European literature, problematizes the very idea of ‘European literature.’
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