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In view of the importance of canon formation in the rewriting of Chinese literary history and the role of translation anthologies in constructing literary canons, this article examines the process of canonization represented in the anthologies of Renditions from 1973 to 2020. It observes the literary works that the Renditions’ anthologies attempt to build into canons and delves into the reasons behind the canon building. It concludes that the anthologies of Renditions challenge and subvert the literary canons established by the Chinese mainland, while trying to reconstruct and even popularize new canons from a Hong Kong perspective. Moreover, Renditions’ efforts to anthologize Chinese literature open up new possibilities for future canon formation and pave the way for a more comprehensive revision of Chinese literary history.

In: Journal of World Literature
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Abstract

This essay looks at the relationship between the human and the animal with a particular focus on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. At the centre of the analysis is Ovid’s basic understanding of anthrozoology and his narrative about Lycaon. With continuous reference to the translations into English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish, this interpretation is concerned with the subtle linguistic phenomena that can only be derived from the Latin original text; and which, regardless of the obvious content of the metamorphosis, subvert the traditional distinction between human and animal. The anthropological difference is closely connected to the order of language, which has been considered a defining characteristic of the human being. It is therefore all the more remarkable that the plurality and convertibility of languages can be addressed in the light of Ovid’s anthrozoology. With this in mind, the essay concludes by discussing the concept of World Literature.

In: Journal of World Literature
Free access
In: Journal of World Literature
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Abstract

This essay proposes to energize the mission of the humanities by radically globalizing their subject matter and methods, taking inspiration from the world’s monumental archive of humanistic creativity over 5000 years of recorded experience. It advocates for Comparative Global Humanities as a crucial complement to the more presentist new humanities fields of medical, environmental, or public humanities. Comparative Global Humanities aims to be inclusively global in terms of subject matter and participants, conceptually comparative, and based on rigorous historical and philological research. A Global Humanities for the 21st century is no antiquarian endeavor, but a head-on response to the greatest challenges of our times: systemic racism, inequality, and fundamentalisms, which are rooted in the unresolved aftermath of wars, colonization, and violence, and use classical heritage for nationalist propaganda. To create more equal societies in the present we need to create more equality for other pasts – and learn from all they offer.

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In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

This essay will examine two “graphic novel” depictions of WWI epidemics: one that depicts scientific advances during the dysentery epidemic on the European front in World War One; and another that depicts the Spanish influenza epidemic unfolding across the United States of America. Both texts narrativise an epidemic through a verbal and visual engagement with historical and scientific discourses. These texts were produced within five years of our current Covid-19 pandemic and show us how language (visual and verbal) can be employed to make sense of a plague threat that involves an invisible “enemy”. The way that meaning is blended and elaborated throughout each text can help us understand how a figurative framing of a pandemic might help open up new understandings or possibilities. Popular imagination can productively link with tropes from the past, particularly tropes that were in play as understandings of the role of science shifted.

Free access
In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

Although postcolonial approaches in world literature and translation studies have produced much necessary scholarship, they have in general disregarded the historical ‘native’ author and translator working in colonial or semicolonial settings. Studies on Urdu literature in the 19th century, for instance, focus mostly on the role of British Orientalists. Drawing upon Allen’s trans-indigenous project, I propose to read the historical ‘native’ text approaching it with a concept drawn from Amerindian ethnohistory: ‘double mistaken identity’ (DMI). While ‘native’ intellectuals might have unwittingly contributed to furthering the cause of Western colonialists, DMI allows for two perspectives to coexist in the ‘native’ text, one of which is a ‘native’, non-hybrid perspective. I take the failed colonial project in 16th-century Japan as a model, focusing on a translation that both Urdu and Japanese intellectuals undertook: that of Aesop’s Fables. There is a case for considering ‘native’ literature fully colonial, fully ‘native’, and fully global.

In: Journal of World Literature
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In: Journal of World Literature
Free access
In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

Following Eric Hayot’s argument that modernity is a theory of the world as the “universal,” this paper traces the “world concept” in Marvel Comics industry (MC) and its synergy with the film industry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Speaking from the field of World Literature Studies, I show how superhero comics activate the “world concept” through the global dissemination of the infinitely stretchable Marvel Universe. My argument is that by operating in terms of a universe with moldable diegetic rules, the popular culture of MC and MCU does not merely reflect the current state of the world concept, but also affects its evolution and its spread. The universality of the modern worldview has come to be less concerned with the realist effect and more with increasing all-inclusiveness and infinite stretchability. The increased plasticity of the world concept puts a great pressure on world literary ecologies and increasingly expands and shapes what Beecroft called global literary ecology. What Marvel Comics has done in recent decades, especially through the interplay with the film industry, is to show how the expansion of the world concept entails that however large we imagine the world to be, it is always already too small.

Open Access
In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

This article brings attention to a form of narrative fiction that has engaged with the Covid-19 outbreak by embracing social media. Microcuentos, a form of very brief short stories usually referred to as flash fiction in English, have widely circulated across Latin America through digital platforms in pandemic times. But more than simply thriving in a context of globally spread fear, death, and isolation, I argue that – in the 2020s – microcuentos are uniquely suited for pandemic times. By combining narrative intensity condensed in a structurally limited wordcount with social media’s capacity to circulate swiftly and widely, writers of microcuentos across the region have been exceptionally capable of responding to the crisis as it is happening. The case of the Latin American microcuento in the time of Covid-19 invites us to question the hegemony of the novel while rethinking the meanings of World Literature in a pandemic and post-pandemic world.

Open Access
In: Journal of World Literature