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The series will be of interest to anybody interested in questions of cosmopolitan and vernacular in the Sinographic Cosmopolis—specifically, with respect to questions of language, writing and literary culture, embracing both beginnings (the origins of and early sources for writing in the sinographic sphere) and endings (the disintegration of the Sinographic Cosmopolis in places like Korea, Japan and Vietnam, and the advent of linguistic modernity throughout all of the old Sinitic sphere. In addition, the series will feature comparative research on interactions and synergies in language, writing and literary culture in the Sinographic Cosmopolis over nearly two millennia, as well as studies of the 'sinographic hangover' in modern East Asia-critical and comparative assessments of the social and cultural history of language and writing and linguistic thought in modern and premodern East Asia.

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Douglas Robinson

Aleksis Kivi (1834-1872) is Finland’s greatest writer. His great 1870 novel The Brothers Seven has been translated 59 times into 34 languages. Is he world literature, or not? In Aleksis Kivi and/as World Literature Douglas Robinson uses this question as a wedge for exploring the nature and nurture of world literature, and the contributions made by translators to it.

Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of major and minor literature, Robinson argues that translators have mainly “majoritized” Kivi—translated him respectfully—and so created images of literary tourism that ill suit recognition as world literature. Far better, he insists, is the impulse to minoritize—to find and celebrate the minor writer in Kivi, who “ sends the major language racing.”