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Abstract

This essay traces the problem of world literature in key writings by the Egyptian scientist and littérateur Aḥmad Zakī Abū Shādī. Abū Shādī’s early nod to world literature (1908–1909) intimates the challenge of making literary particularity heard in the homogenizing harmonies of a world dominated by English. That problem persists in his account of a 1926 meeting with the Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore and in an essay of 1928 inspired by that meeting: one of the first manifestos of al-adab al-ʿālamī (world literature) in Arabic, predating the 1936 appearance of al-adab al-muqāran (comparative literature). While Abū Shādī lauds Tagore’s refusal to compare literatures East and West and insistence on the spiritual unity of all literatures, his struggles to articulate a world in which harmony is not an alibi for hierarchy suggest that neither comparative literature nor its would-be leveler – world literature – can shed the haunting specter of inequality.

In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

Scholarship on production of cultural goods highlights translation of literary works as a key mechanism of cultural circulation. This article rethinks circulation beyond translation. It argues that changes in aesthetic labels applied to cultural goods can prompt a scale shifting that favors the diffusion of these goods beyond their vernacular space of circulation. This article studies the transnational success of the label literatura latinoamericana, which from the 1960s onward gained acceptance in Spanish, English, French, and other languages as the label that best captured the region’s literary uniqueness. This change in aesthetic labeling made it possible for literatura latinoamericana to enter world literature and for literary works such as One Hundred Years of Solitude to circulate at an unprecedented scale, as international bestsellers and classics. The article finds that aesthetic labeling – a “cultural kind” in the arts – is a far-reaching and understudied mechanism in cultural production and circulation.

In: Journal of World Literature
Author:

Abstract

The Rings of Saturn and other works by W.G. Sebald are discussed in conjunction with Landscape of Farewell, by Australian novelist Alex Miller, extending Aimé Césaire’s choc-en-retour, or “boomerang effect,” and following Michael Rothberg’s articulation of “Multidimensional Memory,” to inform a comparative, transcontinental analysis of specific aftershocks of colonialism. Contexts include contemporary Brussels, Indigenous Australia and the eroded coast of East Anglia. The effects of competing and complementary trajectories that arise from postcolonial memory, the presence of found books, following Homi Bhabha, and the intertextual presences of Joseph Conrad and explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, are discussed. The role of poesis articulated by an uncertain narrator against a background of exploitation and genocide is evaluated, as well as the effects of colonial activity on the landscape itself. In conclusion, the article considers the role of literature in effecting reconciliation and restitution.

In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

In an era where cultural festivals multiply, so-called African festivals have spread in Africa, but also outside of the continent, in major cities as well as in little-known villages, for example in provincial France. What are some of their implications and effects in the case of francophone African literature? These events privilege a continental representation of literature, which often reveals itself as problematic when confronted with the complex geographies of the texts and authors represented at these festivals. Using cross-disciplinary methodology, this critical inquiry reads different reallocations of this persistent African matrix through a typology and contemporary examples (Kossi Efoui’s writings, the “Étonnants Voyageurs” and “Plein sud” festivals). As an object of study, festivals bear witness to the necessity of expanding the toolbox of the (world) literary scholar by making use of documentary sources and adopting ethnographic approaches. It reveals a structural tension between an African map and various concrete territories, where local issues matter often more than this continental category, and can affect the form and content of literature itself.

In: Journal of World Literature
Author:

This paper examines the ways in which Arabic literature has been introduced into world literature anthologies. Taking The Longman Anthology of World Literature as a case study, the paper questions the politics of the inclusions and exclusions of Arabic literature in the anthology. Pertinent to the discussion is to ponder the nature of Arabic literature that “makes it” into the anthology. In addition, the paper will demonstrate how the anthology in fact obscures, rather than illuminates, major historical trajectories of Arabic literature. The complexity of Arabic literature, its highly self-reflexive texts, and its internal developments throughout history beg for a different approach that, I argue, this world literature anthology is lacking. Equally significant, The Longman recycles several common orientalist clichés about Arabic literature, the most important of which is that there is no Arabic literature worthy of inclusion in the three volumes of the anthology spanning the thirteenth-nineteenth centuries. As for the pieces that are included, the paper will reflect on the size and space they are offered, arguing that these are not arbitrary choices, but rather indicative of how a non-Western literary tradition is appropriated into a world literature anthology.

In: Journal of World Literature
Author:

Abstract

This article reads the introductions of two anthologies of Harlem Renaissance poetry published in the Weimar Republic in 1929 and 1932 respectively. Taking into account the history of the concept of Volk and its changing connotations in the interwar years, I argue that both editors problematically and subversively interpret the Harlem Renaissance as an American Volk tradition for their German readers. I contend that this act of interpretation questions and critiques the limits of not only the linguistic meaning of Volk, but also the limits of the concept of political belonging that the word represents in the German inter-war years. The article argues, concomitantly, for closer attention to anthologies of world literature and the paratexts of translations.

In: Journal of World Literature
Approaches to Translation Studies is an international series promoting the scholarly study of translation. The notion of plural ‘approaches’ to translation and its study calls up images of scholarly explorers following untrodden paths to translation, or more cautiously (re)tracing the familiar routes. Either way, it indicates a refusal to be tied to dogma or prejudice, a curiosity about possible new vistas, and an awareness that the observer’s view depends on where s/he comes from. But a recognition of the plurality of possible approaches does not necessarily mean passive acquiescence to relativism and scepticism. The idea of ‘approaching’ translation also implies a sense of purpose and direction.

In the context of today’s globalised and pluralised world, this metaphorically suggested perspective is perhaps more relevant than ever before. The series therefore remains fully committed to it, while trying to respond to the rapid changes of our digital age. Ready to travel between genres, media and technologies, willing to span centuries and continents, and always keeping an open mind about the various oppositions that have too often needlessly divided researchers (e.g. high culture versus popular culture, linguistics versus literary studies versus cultural studies, translation ‘proper’ versus ‘adaptation’), the series Approaches to Translation Studies will continue to accommodate all translation-oriented books that match high-quality scholarship with an equal concern for reader-friendly communication.

Approaches to Translation Studies is open to a wide range of scholarly publications in the field of Translation Studies (monographs, collective volumes…). Dissertations are welcome but will obviously need to be thoroughly adapted to their new function and readership. Conference proceedings and collections of articles will only be considered if they show strong thematic unity and tight editorial control. For practical reasons, the series intends to continue its tradition of publishing English-language research. While students, teachers and scholars in the various schools and branches of Translation Studies make up its primary readership, the series also aims to promote a dialogue with readers and authors from various neighbouring disciplines.

Approaches to Translation Studies was launched in 1970 by James S Holmes (1924-1986), who was also one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Translation Studies as an academic discipline. At later stages the series’ editorship passed into the hands of Raymond van den Broeck, Kitty M. van Leuven-Zwart and Ton Naaijkens. Being the very first international series specifically catering for the needs of the fledgling discipline in the 1970s, Approaches to Translation Studies has played a significant historical role in providing it with a much needed platform as well as giving it greater visibility in the academic marketplace.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to the publisher at BRILL, Masja Horn.

Volumes 2, 4, and 5 were published by Van Gorcum (Assen, The Netherlands), but orders should be directed to Brill | Rodopi.

The series published an average of two volumes per year over the last 5 years.
The electronic version of the series Approaches to Translation Studies..

Approaches to Translation Studies is an international series promoting the scholarly study of translation. The notion of plural ‘approaches’ to translation and its study calls up images of scholarly explorers following untrodden paths to translation, or more cautiously (re)tracing the familiar routes. Either way, it indicates a refusal to be tied to dogma or prejudice, a curiosity about possible new vistas, and an awareness that the observer’s view depends on where s/he comes from. But a recognition of the plurality of possible approaches does not necessarily mean passive acquiescence to relativism and scepticism. The idea of ‘approaching’ translation also implies a sense of purpose and direction.

In the context of today’s globalised and pluralised world, this metaphorically suggested perspective is perhaps more relevant than ever before. The series therefore remains fully committed to it, while trying to respond to the rapid changes of our digital age. Ready to travel between genres, media and technologies, willing to span centuries and continents, and always keeping an open mind about the various oppositions that have too often needlessly divided researchers (e.g. high culture versus popular culture, linguistics versus literary studies versus cultural studies, translation ‘proper’ versus ‘adaptation’), the series Approaches to Translation Studies will continue to accommodate all translation-oriented books that match high-quality scholarship with an equal concern for reader-friendly communication.

Approaches to Translation Studies is open to a wide range of scholarly publications in the field of Translation Studies (monographs, collective volumes…). Dissertations are welcome but will obviously need to be thoroughly adapted to their new function and readership. Conference proceedings and collections of articles will only be considered if they show strong thematic unity and tight editorial control. For practical reasons, the series intends to continue its tradition of publishing English-language research. While students, teachers and scholars in the various schools and branches of Translation Studies make up its primary readership, the series also aims to promote a dialogue with readers and authors from various neighbouring disciplines.

Approaches to Translation Studies was launched in 1970 by James S Holmes (1924-1986), who was also one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Translation Studies as an academic discipline. At later stages the series’ editorship passed into the hands of Raymond van den Broeck, Kitty M. van Leuven-Zwart and Ton Naaijkens. Being the very first international series specifically catering for the needs of the fledgling discipline in the 1970s, Approaches to Translation Studies has played a significant historical role in providing it with a much needed platform as well as giving it greater visibility in the academic marketplace.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to the publisher at BRILL, Masja Horn.

Volumes 2, 4, and 5 were published by Van Gorcum (Assen, The Netherlands), but orders should be directed to Brill | Rodopi.

The series published an average of two volumes per year over the last 5 years.

This article focuses on one aspect of the impact of the Arabian Nights on Western literature that has been rarely addressed, namely its impact on modernism. Modernism is almost always viewed as a quintessentially European movement, self-generated between the first and second World Wars. From there it spread to the rest of the world. Despite its global diffusion, the imperial project has remained to be viewed in terms of the impact of the colonial powers over the colonized. My contention is that the cultural traffic was not one-way, but two-way. By considering the cultural traffic as going two ways, we instil an understanding of Modernism as a World Movement and recognize the constitutive part that Arabic poetics played in European Modernism. This article thus detects how the narrative logic of the most famous Arabian tales structured the works of the two pillars of High Modernism, Marcel Proust and James Joyce.

In: Journal of World Literature

This article takes a “genealogical” approach to the concept of minor literature. It argues that the concept of minor literature originated with the idea of “triple ghetto” that emerged in the Prague Czech-German-Jewish environment and was applied to explain the work of Kafka and his fellow Prague writers. Minor literature is the most famous application of the “triple ghetto” concept. A close reconsideration of Kafka’s German/Czech/Jewish Prague reveals interesting relations among several “small,” “minor” and “ultraminor” literatures, relationships that Deleuze and Guattari overlooked. The relationships between various literary entities in Prague extend beyond the binary positioning of “minor” and “major” inherent in the concept of minor literature. In addition to Kafka’s relationship to German literature, we need to consider Kafka’s relationship to the “small” Czech literature, the marginal “ultraminor” German and German Jewish and Czech Jewish literatures of his times, and perhaps most interestingly, to writers who were equally at home in German and Czech.

In: Journal of World Literature