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Abstract

This article observes that Kaiser Haq has made an immense contribution to Bangladeshi poetry in English, leading the school of English poetry of the country from the front. A relatively new field, Bangladeshi writing in English has started becoming a part of world literature, and its scope, no doubt, is expanding rapidly. The article also focuses on the legacy of Bangladeshi writing in English to demonstrate how Bangladeshi poetry in English has simultaneously progressed. The article argues that Haq’s enormous contributions justify his position as the best English-language poet in Bangladesh. For his poetry, the poet takes material from his motherland and its rich culture, and his style, technique, and diction resonate with those of prominent poetic voices of the world. The article also sheds light on how Haq presents Bangladesh, depicting numerous shades of reality, and how he still dominates in the contemporary scene of Bangladeshi poetry in English.

In: Journal of World Literature
Author: Nasrin Qader

Abstract

Asef Soltanzadah is one of the most thought-provoking Afghan writers. His work, set exclusively during wartime, may be characterized by both seriousness and playfulness. To borrow Warren Motte’s words, “playing in earnest” is his literary signature. Yet, he occupies a marginal place within the institution of world literature not only because he writes in Persian but also because he is minimally translated and read. In this article, I turn to two of his short stories featuring a game of cards and kite flying, setting them into conversation with theories of play. I argue that by creating a space for play, Soltanzadah brings into visibility and reflects on the process, promise and risk of transforming mere life into life world within the time and space of war, challenging the theoretical framing of play in relation to the real world while questioning the possibility of worlding in the time of war.

In: Journal of World Literature
Author: Anthony Glinoer

Abstract

Simultaneously an emblematic and ambiguous case of engaged literature, proletarian and revolutionary writings from 1920–1940 have been the focus of numerous studies: whether they be in Germany, France, the United States or Soviet Russia, the principal actors have been identified, certain works have been republished, and the ways in which these movements were first encouraged and then dismantled by the Communist International in the interest of the only accepted socialist realism have been demonstrated. However, the transnational and even global dimensions of this movement and the profound similarities among institutional processes carried out in different countries have been overlooked. Drawing on little-known critical sources from the Francophone world, this article reworks the terrain and presents the state of institutional sites of proletarian and revolutionary literature. To this end, small groups, magazines, and associations will be considered in order to shed new light on this era when, across the globe, workers turned into writers.

In: Journal of World Literature
Author: Franco Moretti

Abstract

“Yes, interesting,” said someone from the audience, the first time I presented on dramatic networks; “but, as a mathematician, I feel I only understand something if I know how to ‘make’ it. So: how do you make a dramatic network? What elements does it need, what rules, what stages?” At the time, I had no idea how to respond; in a discipline like ours, where the objects of study are emphatically given – passed on with care, and often with reverence, from generation to generation – the idea of “making” Hamlet sounded half absurd, half sacrilegious. But that’s exactly my object here: neither real plays, nor even the networks that can be extracted from them, but their “simulations” instead.

In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

This essay explores a number of texts of the exophonic, or non-native literary production, respectively in Italian and German, of translingual authors Jhumpa Lahiri and Yoko Tawada. While the paper looks at how their dominant languages, respectively English and Japanese, continue to play a role in these writers’ non-native production, it focuses on the different approaches the two authors adopt to translingualism and the “linguistic family romance” metaphor, which they equally employ in highly imaginative ways in order to address both their condition of rootlessness and their attitudes to the notion of “mother tongue.” The essay argues that while Lahiri seems to remain a writer that does not contaminate languages (she is a writer in English, a writer in Italian, and a translator of Italian literature into English), Tawada brings German and Japanese together and dwells on the space of contamination between them in her production in German (and Japanese).

In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

This essay examines Richard Francis Burton’s The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (1885–1888), an English translation of the Arabic Alf Laylah wa-Laylah stories that was enormously popular in its own time and continues to be widely admired today – despite the fact that Burton plagiarized extensively from the work of another translator. I argue that Burton’s Nights is neither a faithful nor an original translation of the Arabic stories, but rather an English text whose aesthetic enjoyment is proffered as an affective engagement with the literary aesthetics of the source text, translated through Burton’s own pleasurable experiences of Arabic literary language. Framing the reception of Burton’s Nights, through the Arabic concept of ṭarab, as a process of iterative cycles of pleasure that move between the translator and his readers, I contend that what makes Burton’s Nights enjoyable to read also makes it scandalous to the world literary system within which it has circulated.

In: Journal of World Literature
In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

In this article, we explore the history of the development of the Islamicate manuscript collection at the Columbia University Libraries (approximately 575 manuscripts across a wide range of languages, subjects, and periods). The story of the collection is one of checkered growth and engagement, and of serendipitous development. We focus on the key actors responsible for collecting activities, mainly donors and faculty, and provide biographical information as well as details regarding the specific contributions made. Three broad phases of development are identified: the birth of the collection (1880–1930); a period of growth: the Smith-Plimpton Islamic science manuscripts (1930–1950); Arthur Jeffery, the Burke Collection and the last gasp of orientalist philological research at Columbia (1950–1970). We try to account for the ebb and flow of interest in the collection within the larger scholarly context of Islamic and Near Eastern studies in the city and at the University.

In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

This article examines a copy of Farhād Mīrzā’s Jām-i Jam (the World-Revealing Goblet) published in 1856 in Tehran and kept at Columbia University Library offsite storage. It demonstrates the dual importance of this book in geographic knowledge production and as part of the library of Saʿīd Nafīsī, one of the most prominent Iranian scholars of Persian literature. Methodologically, the paper offers various ways to study a single lithograph to decipher larger historical processes in histories of education, translation, and print. First, it analyzes the paratext to expose scholarly and political networks in order to examine the genealogy of geographic knowledge production in mid-nineteenth century Qajar Iran. Second, it studies the content and translation practices employed by Farhād Mīrzā to offer novel strategies for analyzing dissemination and reception of new ways of production and categorization of geographic knowledge as well as methods utilized in composition of pedagogical geography books. Finally, it discusses how cataloging practices affect current scholarship and lead to rendering certain texts “hidden.” It therefore illustrates how the study of Farhād Mīrzā’s Jām-i Jam, a book aspiring to reveal the world, can expose much about scholarly practices not only in the past but also the present.

In: Philological Encounters