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Series:

Edited by Joshua Byron-Smith and Georgia Henley

A Companion to Geoffrey of Monmouth brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to provide an updated scholarly introduction to all aspects of his work. Arguably the most influential secular writer of medieval Britain, Geoffrey (d. 1154) popularized Arthurian literature and left an indelible mark on European romance, history, and genealogy. Despite this outsized influence, Geoffrey’s own life, background, and motivations are little understood. The volume situates his life and works within their immediate historical context, and frames them within current critical discussion across the humanities. By necessity, this volume concentrates primarily on Geoffrey’s own life and times, with the reception of his works covered by a series of short encyclopaedic overviews, organized by language, that serve as guides to further reading.

Contributors are Jean Blacker, Elizabeth Bryan, Thomas H. Crofts, Siân Echard, Fabrizio De Falco, Michael Faletra, Ben Guy, Santiago Gutiérrez Garcia, Nahir I. Otaño Gracia, Paloma Gracia, Giorgia Henley, David F. Johnson, Owain Wyn Jones, Maud Burnett McInerney, Françoise Le Saux, Barry Lewis, Coral Lumbley, Simon Meecham-Jones, Paul Russell, Victoria Shirley, Joshua Byron Smith, Jaakko Tahkokallio, Hélène Tétrel, Rebecca Thomas, Fiona Tolhurst.

Series:

Edited by Emma-Louise Silva, Sam Slote and Dirk van Hulle

Joyce’s art is an art of idiosyncratic transformation, revision, recycling, and transvaluation. More specifically, the work of his art lies in the act of creative transformation: the art of the paste that makes it new. And so, the transformative artistic act may be original even if its raw material is not. The essays in this volume examine various modalities of the Joycean aesthetic metamorphosis, whether by Joyce engaging with other artists and other arts, or other artists – in a variety of media – engaging with the Joycean aftermath. We have chosen the essays that best show the range of Joycean engagement with multiple artistic domains. Joyce’s art is multiform and protean. Influenced by many, it influences many others.

Series:

Heather McAlpine

In this book, Heather McAlpine argues that emblematic strategies play a more central role in Pre-Raphaelite poetics than has been acknowledged, and that reading Pre-Raphaelite works with an awareness of these strategies permits a new understanding of the movement’s engagements with ontology, religion, representation, and politics. The emblem is a discursive practice that promises to stabilize language in the face of doubt, making it especially interesting as a site of conflicting responses to Victorian crises of representation. Through analyses of works by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, A.C. Swinburne, and William Morris, Emblematic Strategies examines the Pre-Raphaelite movement’s common goal of conveying “truth” while highlighting differences in its adherents’ approaches to that task.

Edited by Leo Tak-hung Chan, Gabriela Saldanha, Şebnem Susam-Sarajeva, Tom Toremans and Michaela Wolf

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 Rodopi.

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

Australian Playwrights

And Australian Drama, Theatre and Performance

Edited by Denise Varney

The aims of the series are i) to contribute to the interpretation, critical analysis, promotion, and wider understanding of Australian drama, theatre and performance in Australia and overseas; ii) to pursue a scholarly investigation through monographs which could include either an overview of a particular playwright, director or company and a critical analysis of his/her/its plays or performances or a study of a grouping in drama and theatre including writers for performance and theatre makers within a unifying framework; iii) to enliven, enrich and illustrate the study of drama, theatre and performance within Australia and overseas, especially for scholars, artists and students.
Each monograph provides an in-depth study aimed at furthering knowledge of Australian drama, theatre and performance and therefore Australian culture with reference to primary and secondary sources.

The series published two volumes over the last 5 years.

Edited by Denise Varney

The aims of the series are i) to contribute to the interpretation, critical analysis, promotion, and wider understanding of Australian drama, theatre and performance in Australia and overseas; ii) to pursue a scholarly investigation through monographs which could include either an overview of a particular playwright, director or company and a critical analysis of his/her/its plays or performances or a study of a grouping in drama and theatre including writers for performance and theatre makers within a unifying framework; iii) to enliven, enrich and illustrate the study of drama, theatre and performance within Australia and overseas, especially for scholars, artists and students.
Each monograph provides an in-depth study aimed at furthering knowledge of Australian drama, theatre and performance and therefore Australian culture with reference to primary and secondary sources.

The series published two volumes over the last 5 years.

Chloe

Beihefte zum Daphnis

Edited by Tobias Bulang and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Seelbach

Die Beihefte-Reihe zum Daphnis bringt Beiträge zu Rahmenthemen unter der Verantwortung dazu eingeladener Herausgeber.

The series published three volumes over the last 5 years.

Chloe

Beihefte zum Daphnis

Edited by Tobias Bulang and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Seelbach

Die Beihefte-Reihe zum Daphnis bringt Beiträge zu Rahmenthemen unter der Verantwortung dazu eingeladener Herausgeber.

The series published three volumes over the last 5 years.

Edited by C.C. Barfoot, Ton Hoenselaars and W.M. Verhoeven

DQR Studies in Literature is a longstanding book series for state-of-the-art research in the field of English-language literature(s). Besides the more classical research in English, American and Irish literature, do we offer a platform for new directions in literary studies in relation to translation studies, minority literatures, ecology, medical humanities, hemispheric studies, transatlantic studies, network studies and social sciences, as well as reflections on studies in English literature as a discipline.

All submissions are subject to a double blind peer review process prior to publication.

DQR Studies in Literature is a book series which first began in 1986 as an offshoot of the journal, Dutch Quarterly Review of Anglo-American Letters that flourished from 1971 until 1992.
Since its inception we publish only collected volumes in this series.

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


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

Edited by C.C. Barfoot, Ton Hoenselaars and W.M. Verhoeven

DQR Studies in Literature is a longstanding book series for state-of-the-art research in the field of English-language literature(s). Besides the more classical research in English, American and Irish literature, do we offer a platform for new directions in literary studies in relation to translation studies, minority literatures, ecology, medical humanities, hemispheric studies, transatlantic studies, network studies and social sciences, as well as reflections on studies in English literature as a discipline.

All submissions are subject to a double blind peer review process prior to publication.

DQR Studies in Literature is a book series which first began in 1986 as an offshoot of the journal, Dutch Quarterly Review of Anglo-American Letters that flourished from 1971 until 1992.
Since its inception we publish only collected volumes in this series.

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


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

Edited by Norbert Bachleitner

The series "IFAVL" is a platform for peer reviewed, scholarly research in comparative studies in literature with a Eurocentric focus. Comparative studies with an interdisciplinary approach are also welcome.

From 2005 onward, the series "Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft" will appear as a joint publication by Brill and Weidler Buchverlag, Berlin. The German editions will be published by Weidler Buchverlag, all other publications by Brill.

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


The series published an average of 6,5 volumes per year over the last 5 years.

Edited by Norbert Bachleitner

The series "IFAVL" is a platform for peer reviewed, scholarly research in comparative studies in literature with a Eurocentric focus. Comparative studies with an interdisciplinary approach are also welcome.

From 2005 onward, the series "Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft" will appear as a joint publication by Brill and Weidler Buchverlag, Berlin. The German editions will be published by Weidler Buchverlag, all other publications by Brill.

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


The series published an average of 6,5 volumes per year over the last 5 years.
This book series takes an interdisciplinary approach, examining the literature of modernity through consideration of its diverse phenomena and contexts.
While the Early Modern Era was marked in cultural-historical terms by the Renaissance, economically by the Industrial Revolution and politically by the French Revolution as well as nationalism, a first high point in modern literature was achieved by insights drawn from the natural and human sciences, foremost the fields of psychoanalysis, the quantum hypothesis, and the theory of relativity. A necessary condition for the interdisciplinary approach, therefore, in addition to the consideration of socio-cultural implications, is engagement with the history of thought, which makes the development of the Modern Era comprehensible.
This premise provides the basis for the examination of the numerous phenomena of modernity through the lens of literary texts, stemming from all applicable national literatures.

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


Edited by Hubert van den Berg, Axel Goodbody and Marcel Wissenburg

The series Nature, Culture and Literature is dedicated to publications approaching literature and other forms of text-based communication from an ecological standpoint. It provides a platform for the practice of ecocriticism in the broadest sense, understood as an issue-driven field of cultural enquiry comprising critical textual analysis and theorising on human/nature relations.
The series publishes single-author monographs and thematically focused collections of essays, on literature across languages, cultures and periods, and on other forms of writing. It is open to scholars working in green media studies, environmental history, philosophy, social and cultural theory, and linguistics, as well as national literatures and comparative literature.
Nature, Culture and Literature embraces a range of different approaches, and explores phenomena observable in Europe, America and beyond in their international extension as well as in their national and regional peculiarities.
Individual volumes focus on a specific area of research. They may examine the work of a single author or the characteristics of the environmental imagination in a particular culture; they may map one of the themes central to popular understandings of nature and explore their creative reconfiguration (e.g. nature and national/regional identity, human/ animal relations, or climate change); or they may develop and illustrate a particular theoretical approach (for instance in ecolinguistics, energy humanities, or econarratology / ecopoetics).

The series aims to publish an average two volumes per year. All volumes are peer reviewed.

Spatial Practices

An Interdisciplinary Series in Cultural History, Geography and Literature

Edited by Christoph Ehland

Spatial Practices aims to publish new work in the study of spaces and places which have been appropriated for cultural meanings: symbolic landscapes and urban places which have specific cultural meanings that construct, maintain, and circulate myths of a unified national or regional culture and their histories, or whose visible ironies deconstruct those myths. Taking up the lessons of the new cultural geography, papers are invited which attempt to build bridges between the disciplines of cultural history, literary and cultural studies, and geography.
Spatial Practices will promote a new interdisciplinary kind of cultural history drawing on constructivist approaches to questions of culture and identity that insist that cultural “realities” are the effect of discourses; but also that cultural objects and their histories and geographies are read as texts, with formal and generic rules, tropes and topographies.
Before their inclusion in Spatial Practices manuscripts will be subjected to peer-review.

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

Studia Imagologica

Amsterdam Studies on Cultural Identity

Imagology, the study of cross-national perceptions and images as expressed in literary discourse, has for many decades been one of the more challenging and promising branches of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies.
Its focus lies in the attitudes, stereotypes and prejudices about our own and others' national characters; attitudes which govern our rhetoric, discursive representation, literary activity and - ultimately - international relations at large. To recognize "national characters" as textual (frequently literary) constructs necessitates a textual and historical analysis of their typology, their discursive expression and dissemination, by historians and literary scholars.
The series Studia Imagologica, which will accommodate scholarly monographs and collected volumes in English, French or German provides a forum for this literary-historical specialism.
Before their inclusion in Studia Imagologica volumes and monographs will be subjected to peer-review.

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

Edited by Walter Bernhart

The book series Studies in Intermediality, launched in 2006, is devoted to scholarly research in the field of Intermediality Studies and, thus, in the broadest sense, addresses all phenomena involving more than one communicative medium. More specifically, it concerns itself with the wide range of relationships established among the various media and investigates how concepts of a more general character find diversified manifestations and reflections in the different media.
Studies in Intermediality publishes, peer-reviewed, theme-oriented volumes and monographs, documenting and critically assessing the scope, theory, methodology, and the disciplinary and institutional dimensions and prospects of Intermediality Studies on an international scale.

For specific information on the editing of SIM volumes and style information please visit the SIM Style Guide below.

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

Edited by Walter Bernhart

The book series Studies in Intermediality, launched in 2006, is devoted to scholarly research in the field of Intermediality Studies and, thus, in the broadest sense, addresses all phenomena involving more than one communicative medium. More specifically, it concerns itself with the wide range of relationships established among the various media and investigates how concepts of a more general character find diversified manifestations and reflections in the different media.
Studies in Intermediality publishes, peer-reviewed, theme-oriented volumes and monographs, documenting and critically assessing the scope, theory, methodology, and the disciplinary and institutional dimensions and prospects of Intermediality Studies on an international scale.

For specific information on the editing of SIM volumes and style information please visit the SIM Style Guide below.

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

Edited by Theo D'haen

Textxet welcomes the submission of monographs and edited collections of articles that fall within the broad category of Comparative Literature: theories of literature, world literature, works dealing with various literatures, and comparisons between the arts.
Only submissions in English will be considered.
All manuscripts considered suitable will undergo a double peer review process before acceptation.

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


The series published an average of 3,5 volumes per year over the last 5 years.

Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych

Abstract

This study explores the relationship between the extraordinary poetic achievement of Sharīf al-Raḍī (d. 406/1016) in his highly lyrical and influential Dīwān, on the one hand, and the literary-religious accomplishment of his unrivalled compilation of the sermons, epistles, and sayings of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib, Nahj al-balāghah, on the other. It examines the interplay among the contemporary Mutanabbī-dominated literary scene, the Imāmī Shīʿite dominated Baghdādī politico-religious scene, and, in Islamic scholarship generally, the increasingly balāghah- (rhetoric)-focused theological discourse on iʿjāz al-Qurʾān (the miraculous inimitability of the Qurʾān). Finally, the paper attempts to connect al-Raḍī’s sense of alienation and dispossession from his hereditary right to rule—one that he has found so strikingly expressed in the sermons of his forefather ʿAlī—and the extraordinary lyrical-elegiac strain in his own poetry.

Christian Junge

Abstract

This article discusses the performative function of enumeration in Arabic prose. Bringing together a great variety of word lists from classical to modern prose (including the 1001 Nights, al-Tawḥīdī, al-Suyūṭī, al-Shidyāq, and Darwīsh), it unveils their often neglected importance to literature by drawing from an emerging scholarship on enumeration. Focusing on “enumerative games” (Mainberger), the article does not ask what the enumerated elements mean, but how the act of enumerating produces meaning. In the first part, the article discusses elements central to the poetics of the enumerative (including items, length, arrangement, and frame). In the second part it deals with the politics of enumeration in the example of al-Shidyāq’s al-Sāq ʿalā al-sāq fī mā huwa al-Fāriyāq (1855). The article seeks to provide a basic approach to enumeration and argues that enumerative games in literature perform acts of cultural politics.

C. Ceyhun Arslan

Abstract

This article analyzes comparisons between Arabic and Turkish literatures in literary histories from the late Ottoman period, with a particular focus on works by Jurjī Zaydān (1861-1914). Drawing upon Alexander Beecroft’s concept of “literary biomes,” it argues that these comparisons overlooked intersections of Arabic and Turkish literatures in the “Ottoman literary biome” and depicted them as belonging to two separate “biomes.” I define the “Ottoman literary biome” as the transcultural space of the Ottoman Empire that allowed the circulation of a multilingual textual repertoire and cultivated a cultural elite. Through foregrounding the transcultural context of Ottoman literary biome, I demonstrate that modern Arabic and Turkish literatures morphed in a reciprocal entanglement. My work finally calls for the fields of Arabic literature and comparative literature to further flesh out the diversity of literary biomes in which Arabic texts circulated.

Jonathan Decter

Abstract

This article studies the use of adab and related terminology among medieval Jewish authors with particular attention to shifts in cultural and religious sensibilities, matters of group cohesion and self-definition, and the contours of adab discourse across religious boundaries. The article demonstrates that, although Jews in the Islamic East in the tenth century internalized adab as a cultural concept, it was in al-Andalus that Jews first self-consciously presented themselves as udabā. The article focuses on works of Judeo-Arabic biblical exegesis, grammar, and poetics as well as Hebrew poetry composed after the style of Arabic poetry.

Salah Natij

Abstract

The following remarks intend to re-examine the linguistic-epistemic relationship that Arabists have been accustomed to establishing between the terms adab and daʾb since Vollers and Nallino. I propose in this study to return to the hypothesis of Vollers and Nallino in order to examine the validity of the link of linguistic-epistemic descent between the words daʾb and adab. We believe that the establishment of this relationship of parentage and linguistic kinship between these two terms constitutes a real epistemological obstacle that prevents us from understanding and defining the concept of adab in a way that is both fair and complex. It is the purpose of this paper therefore to reconsider this question by proposing an analysis that attempts to show how and why the term daʾb and the concept adab refer to two different domains of experience and proceed from two different and separate thought systems.

Haifa S. Alfaisal

Abstract

The modernist epistemic disconnect from the “medieval Islamic republic of letters,” Muhsin al-Musawi argues, is attributable both to the incursion of Enlightenment-infused European discourse and a failure to read the import of the republic’s significant cultural capital. This article explores the effects of Eurocentric incursions on transformations in literary value in two of the earliest known works of comparative Arabic literary criticism: Rūḥī al-Khālidī’s Tārīkh ʿilm al-adab ʿind al-ifranj wa-l-ʿarab wa-fiktūr hūkū (The History of the Science of Literature of the Franks, the Arabs, and Victor Hugo, 1902) and Aḥmad Ḍayf’s Muqaddimah li-dirāsat balāghat al-ʿarab (Introduction to the Study of Arab balāghah, 1921). I employ the various theoretical formulations of the decolonial school of thought, primarily Walter Mignolo’s coloniality/modernity complex, in tracing these epistemological shifts in literary value and focus on the internalization of Eurocentric critiques of Arabic literary capital. I also discuss the politics involved in such processes, presenting a decolonial perspective on these modernists’ engagement with their Arabic critical heritage.

(Dis)Counting Languages

Between Hugó Meltzl and Liviu Rebreanu

Anca Parvulescu and Manuela Boatcă

Abstract

The essay analyzes the interglottism at work in Liviu Rebreanu’s novel Ion (1920) against the polyglottism theorized and performed editorially by the first Comparative Literature journal (ACLU), which it positions against the background of post-1867 Austro-Hungarian imperial policies for the use of languages.

The Uneven Travels of World Literature

On Creole and Untranslatability in Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners and Miriam Mandelkow’s Die Taugenichtse

Birgit Neumann

Abstract

The essay engages with possibilities of translating Creole in Anglophone world literatures and investigates the socio-political frames within which translations occur. It has been argued that it is impossible to translate, read and understand the connotations of Creole without their historical and cultural contexts, from which these linguistic varieties are derived and which they conversely help produce. Texts thriving on Creole, such as Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, are highly context-sensitive and call for close, historically and locally grounded readings. The translation and translatability of Creole begs crucial questions concerning the common understanding of world literature as travelling texts. The essay discusses these questions with an eye to the role of English as a global literary vernacular, before moving on to examine Miriam Mandelkow’s recent German translation of Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners.

Series:

Edited by Jay Paul Gates and Brian T. O'Camb

This volume of essays focuses on how individuals living in the late tenth through fifteenth centuries engaged with the authorizing culture of the Anglo-Saxons. Drawing from a reservoir of undertreated early English documents and texts, each contributor shows how individual poets, ecclesiasts, legists, and institutions claimed Anglo-Saxon predecessors for rhetorical purposes in response to social, cultural, and linguistic change. Contributors trouble simple definitions of identity and period, exploring how medieval authors looked to earlier periods of history to define social identities and make claims for their present moment based on the political fiction of an imagined community of a single, distinct nation unified in identity by descent and religion.

Contributors are Cynthia Turner Camp, Irina Dumitrescu, Jay Paul Gates, Erin Michelle Goeres, Mary Kate Hurley, Maren Clegg Hyer, Nicole Marafioti, Brian O’Camb, Kathleen Smith, Carla María Thomas, Larissa Tracy, and Eric Weiskott.

Chateaubriand

Une identité trinitaire

Series:

Béatrice Didier

Par sa situation historique, par la variété des expériences qu'il a vécues, Chateaubriand dans les Mémoires d'Outre-tombe semble parfois être pris de vertige : comment affirmer qu'il est bien le même ? La défense de la liberté lui semble être une constante de son identité. Mais ce combat suffit-il à gommer ses contradictions ? N'y a-t-il pas des failles dans le portrait qu'il entend donner de lui-même ? Faut-il les camoufler, ou permettent-elles, au contraire, d'explorer la richesse d'un (ou plusieurs) moi virtuel qui sous-tendrait toute son existence et que cet « autre moi » de l’écrivain ne parvient pas non plus à épuiser complètement ?

Shaden M. Tageldin

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.

Blaž Zabel

Abstract

This article discusses the work of the early Irish comparatists Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett, who in 1886 published the first monograph in English in comparative literature. By bringing into discussion Posnett’s lesser-known journalistic publications on politics, the essay argues that his comparative project was importantly determined by the contemporary challenges of British imperial politics and by his own position in the British Empire. The article investigates several aspects of Posnett’s work in the context of British colonialism: his understanding of literature and literary criticism, his perception of the English and French systems of national literature, and his understanding of world literature and classical literature. Recognising the imperial and colonial context of Comparative Literature additionally highlights the development of literary comparisons, which have marked subsequent discussions in the discipline.

Intersecting Imperialisms

The Rise and Fall of Empires in Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Ben Holgate

Abstract

Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2013), which features the Thai-Burma “Death Railway” in World War Two, depicts a complex web of imperial regimes that converge and clash in the mid-twentieth century. The protagonist is an Australian soldier effectively fighting for his country’s former colonizer, Britain, which is losing its empire to Japan. I build on Laura Doyle’s concept of “inter-imperiality” to explore how the novel illuminates the historical process of imperial factors intersecting at multiple levels, from the geopolitical and economic to the personal and cultural. The novel demonstrates how inter-imperial identities challenge simple binary models of imperialism, and how so-called national literatures are produced in a world context. This is evident in Flanagan’s intertextual homage to classical Japanese author Matsuo Bashō. The novel also highlights how world literature discourse ought to take into account temporal and ethicopolitical factors (Pheng Cheah), suggesting an overlap with postcolonial studies.

Multilingual Novel

Anticlimax and the Real of World Literature

Matylda Figlerowicz

Abstract

This article proposes a model of world literature based on multilingualism, rather than translation or a series of monolingualisms. It analyzes three novels, positioned in uneven relationships to world literature: Ramon Saizarbitoria’s Hamaika pauso (Basque; Countless steps, 1995), Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (Spanish; 2004), and Sol Ceh Moo’s Sujuy k’iin (Mayan; Unspoiled day, 2011). They can all be read as multilingual, and despite the differences of their contexts and the particular ways in which different languages intertwine in them, anticlimactic forms are an aesthetic solution they share. The model of world literature informed by this anticlimactic multilingualism could be called the Real of world literature, since it points to the traumatic core of world literature that disrupts the possibility of systematizing its literatures in a holistic structure.

Eralda L. Lameborshi

Abstract

The Ottoman Empire shaped much of the Mediterranean world and yet, postcolonial scholarship has developed very few tools that engage with it as a pre-modern and pre-capitalist empire. Given its influence, it is necessary to understand the Ottoman Empire as a colonial force, especially in literatures that represent its reign. Southeastern European literature is ripe for such analysis as it seeks to understand the Ottoman legacy in Southeastern Europe, and to account for the ways in which the Ottoman Empire’s imperial model created worlds within worlds, where regions not located in the imperial center were not peripheries but provincial centers. The works of Ivo Andrić, Ismail Kadare, and Meša Selimović fictionalize history in an attempt to show how history itself happens in these provincial centers. Audiences become aware of the Ottoman presence as a droning hum in the background with a lasting cultural, linguistic, and religious legacy.

Vedran Ćatović

Abstract

This study situates the works of Ivo Andrić at the intersection of world literature and postcolonial studies. It argues that, rather than being opposed as two mutually exclusive critical paradigms, the two need to be tactfully combined in order to account for the artist’s treatment of the prolonged subjugation undergone by the former Ottoman province of Bosnia. Two contradictory trends are observed. Andrić represents Bosnian small towns as places of symbolic resistance and perseverance. His local themes and language undermine the hegemonic presence of the empire, and invite a reading through a postcolonial lens. At the same time, a strong cosmopolitan current runs through the same narratives, and shows a paradoxical urge of the artist to extend his local setting into the global and intercultural spheres. Andrić stages the world as a multifarious and enigmatic whole – a viewpoint that embraces world literature as its aesthetic and political shrine.

Pheng Cheah and David Damrosch

Abstract

The following is an edited transcript of a presentation by Pheng Cheah on his book What Is a World? On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature, followed by a discussion with David Damrosch, with selections from the question and answer period. The event took place on the opening day of the July 2018 session of the Institute of World Literature, hosted by Professor Mitsuyoshi Numano and the Department of Contemporary Literary Studies at the University of Tokyo.

Bhavya Tiwari and David Damrosch

Katrien Vanpee

Abstract

This article examines the understudied political dynamics of the televised nabaṭī poetry competition Shāʿir al-Milyūn (“Million’s Poet”) to offer a new understanding of the program. Media coverage has focused on the participation of a single female participant, while scholars have assessed Shāʿir al-Milyūn as primarily an experiment in the wedding of local tradition to modern technology, overlooking the central and complex negotiations of ruler-ruled relationships taking place on the show’s stage. Shāʿir al-Milyūn’s political aspect becomes particularly apparent in the regular performances of waṭaniyyah verse, i.e. poetry for the waṭan or homeland. Reading a waṭaniyyah poem performed during the fifth season of Shāʿir al-Milyūn by Emirati poet Aḥmad bin Hayyāy al-Manṣūrī, I argue that Shāʿir al-Milyūn, rather than merely celebrating local poetic tradition, operates as a political technology that provides both poetry contestants and the show’s princely patron with opportunities to articulate and enact expectations of proper citizenship.

Hassanaly Ladha

Abstract

This study examines the architectural lexicon (ṭalal, dār, rasm, bayt) of early Arabic poetry, interrogating the relation between built and linguistic form in the nasīb. I argue that the interpenetration of the aṭlāl and khayāl motifs and of other structural elements of the qaṣīdah allegorizes the fleeting and phantasmatic nature of all linguistic and material structures. In the early Arabic episteme, poetic forms materialize history, delineating realities even as they fall endlessly into ruin. The implied theories of language and knowledge may inflect our understanding of the entire tradition of Arabo-Islamic expression emerging from this literary milieu.

Samuel England

Abstract

This article moves the poetic ijāzah from the periphery, where modern scholars have generally placed it, to a central position in Arabic poetry and mass media. The ijāzah was well developed before its adoption in the western Mediterranean, but Cordoban, Sevillian, and expatriate Sicilian poets distinguished the competitive improvised poem from corollary works in the Middle East, where it had first been invented. I argue that it is precisely the Andalusi innovations to the ijāzah’s formal development that have allowed traditional criticism to minimize its importance, against a larger trend of popular audiences appreciating performed ijāzahs, on stage and in mass media. Modern Arabic theatre and television have found enthusiastic audiences for the Andalusi poetic dialogue, a phenomenon that frames my Classical research. Media outlets, including those working closely with government officials, stage the ijāzah in ways that maximize its ideological value. As they use it to promote secularism and putatively benevolent dictatorship, propelling Andalusi literature into current Middle Eastern politics, we critics should seek to understand the dialogic form in its contemporary, insistently political phase of development.

Hanan Hammad

Abstract

This article employs the fictional writings of the Egyptian author Iḥsān ‘Abd al-Quddūs (1919–1990) to analyze the textually tangled anxiety over women’s sexuality and rapid political and socioeconomic changes in postcolonial Egypt and the Arab-East. Arguably one of the most prolific writers in Arabic in the twentieth century, ‘Abd al-Quddūs has achieved wide readership, and producers have adapted his books to popular commercial films and TV shows. Breaking taboos on women’s sexual desires, ‘Abd al-Quddūs’s work has been influential in shaping the popular notion about lesbian love wherein frustration with the postcolonial realities—inscribed by the Arab-Israeli conflict, Oil Boom, and globalization—have become entangled with the fear of women’s mobility and liberation.

Whirls of Faith and Fancy

House Symbolism and Sufism in Elif Shafak’s The Flea Palace

Verena Laschinger

Abstract

Elif Shafak’s The Flea Palace (2004) exposes secularized Istanbul as a grotesque world. By establishing the apartment building as a synecdoche for the city and negotiating the characters’ trajectories within the historical context of modernizing Istanbul, the novel presents their alienation as the sine qua non of the modern individual which is best confronted playfully or rather in the Sufi way. The argument is supported by the novel’s complex employment of circles and lines as thematic and formal patterns which refer to Islamic ritual practice of the Mevlevi Sufis in numerous ways.

Cultures of Uneven and Combined Development

From International Relations to World Literature

Series:

Edited by James Christie and Nesrin Degirmencioglu

Cultures of Uneven and Combined Development seeks to explore and develop Leon Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development. In particular, it aims to adapt the political and historical analysis which originated in Trotsky’s Russia for use within the contemporary field of world literature. As such, it draws together the work of scholars from both the field of international relations and the field of literature and the arts. This collection will therefore be of particular interest to anyone who is interested in new ways of understanding world literary texts, or interested in new ways of applying Trotsky’s revolutionary politics to the contemporary world order.

Contributors: Alexander Anievas, Gail Day, James Christie, Kamran Matin, Kerem Nisancioglu, Luke Cooper, Michael Niblett, Neil Davidson, Nesrin Degirmencioglu, Robert Spencer, Steve Edwards.

African Cultural Festivals and World Literature

From the Map to the Territory

Claire Ducournau

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.

The Literary World of the North African Taghrība

Novelization, Locatedness and World Literature

Karima Laachir

Abstract

The novels by North African novelists Waciny Laredj, Majid Toubia and Abdelrahim Lahbibi that refashioned the traditional Arabic genre of the taghrība inspired by the medieval epic of Taghrība of Banū Hilāl, still a living oral tradition in the region, offer an interesting case study of location in world literature. They circulate both within national (Algerian, Egyptian and Moroccan) literary systems and the pan-Arab literary field while maintaining a distinct aesthetic and political locality. In these novels, the literary life of the North African taghrība takes forms and meanings that are geographically and historically located, and that are shaped by the positionality of the authors. This paper intervenes in the discussion on location in world literature from the perspective of Arabic novelistic traditions by showing that the pan-Arabic literary field itself is far from homogenous but is marked by a diversity of narrative styles and techniques that can be both local/localised and transregional at the same time. Therefore, we need to shift our understanding of world literature beyond macro-models of “world-system” that assume a universally-shared set of literary values and tastes.

Locating the World in Metaphysical Poetry

The Bardification of Hafiz

Fatima Burney

Abstract

Discussions on world literature often imagine literary presence, movement, and exchange in terms of location and prioritize those literary traditions that can be easily mapped. In many regards, classical ghazal poetry resists such interpretation. Nonetheless, a number of nineteenth-century writers working in Urdu and English reframed classical ghazal poetry according to notions of locale that were particularly underpinned by ideas of natural essence, or genius. This article puts two such receptions of the classical ghazal in conversation with one another: the naičral shāʿirī (natural poetry) movement in North India, and the portrayal of classical Persian poet Hafiz as a figure of national genius in the scholarship of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Both these examples highlight the role that discourses of nature and natural expression played in nineteenth-century literary criticism, particularly with regard to conceptions of national culture. They also demonstrate how Persianate literary material that had long circulated in cosmopolitan ways could be vernacularized by rereading conventionalized tropes of mystical longing in terms of more worldly belonging.

Francesca Orsini and Laetitia Zecchini

On Islands and Deserts

Algerian Worlds

Tristan Leperlier

Abstract

This article argues for the necessity for world literature and postcolonial studies to examine both global hierarchies of literary legitimacy and those local practices which might challenge them, and give perspectives for other significant geographies. To do so, it focuses on the bilingual and transnational Algerian literary field; this requires different levels of interconnected analysis, namely of the two linguistic subfields, the intermediary level of national literary field and the two Francophone and Arabophone transnational literary fields. Trajectories and literary works of three very different yet linked writers, Rachid Boudjedra, Tahar Djaout and Tahar Ouettar, are examined in turn. The article traces both the global and linguistic inequalities to which they were subjected as well as their practices in order to argue that they reveal unexpected vectors of circulation between spaces and languages. Finally, this piece explores how and why each writer reinvents a world within their desert novels, that is, by narrating wanderings in the desert that are also explorations of national identity.

Dale Tracy

Abstract

Cloud Atlas takes the form of what Lawrence Buell calls an observer-hero narrative, in which an observer has difficulty representing and interpreting a hero’s actions. While Cloud Atlas structurally magnifies this problem over its multiple stories, its subversion of genre and convention suggests a reading strategy through which one might believe in another’s effective action, despite the accepted knowledge and limiting rules of the systems in which action might occur. The novel’s principle of symmetry, that an observer’s belief in a hero’s action bolsters the action’s effects, suggests the significance of what I call proximate observation – observation founded in an appropriate degree of connection. Proximate observation allows for the belief in another’s story, belief that is necessary for change. The implications for a text, the world, or world literature are the same: proximate reading strategies foreground the need for belief in possibilities one does not already know.

World Literatures, Cosmopolitan Publics

Welcoming the PEN Club to Buenos Aires in 1936

Mónica Szurmuk and Fernando Degiovanni

Abstract

In this article we use the rich sources provided by the press coverage of the 1936 Congress of the PEN Club in Buenos Aires to examine international interactions around literature in times of violence and censorship. We contend that the Congress allows for a reading of the different worlds of literature beyond the traditional categories of text, reader, writer and critic. Our study moves away from canonical authors and literature as an institution to focus on World Literature as a form of experience. We focus on the producers and consumers of literature as embodied multilingual presences and thereby provide a more nuanced understanding of World Literature. Bruce Robbins’s notion of “cosmopolitanisms from below” allows us to rethink the notion of World Literature within the framework of a “lived” cosmopolitanism deployed at a time of political danger.

Worlds of Advice

Going Places with Nazir Ahmad

Soofia Siddique

Abstract

This article situates the nineteenth-century Urdu writer Nazir Ahmad’s Chand Pand as a piece of advice literature on an Arabic-Persian continuum, and equally a text of its time and place. Linguistic features of its discourse show that, as a self-conscious performance of the possibilities of Urdu, it imparts culturally resonant ways of inhabiting a multifarious world, and inscribes an expansive and inclusive view of culture. In particular, the narrative organization of the focal section “A Brief Account of the World” is strongly evocative of a conceptual organization of the world by concentric circles that is comparable to the view of human sociality invoked by the tenth-eleventh century Persian ethicist Miskawayh and illuminates the location of Nazir Ahmad’s text in the continuum of ethics (akhlaq) literature. At the same time, beside these signs of literary cosmopolitanism, I argue that Nazir Ahmad’s account of the world stakes a claim for the irreducible particularity of places and their associated textures of life, and offers a view of the world that supports “place-based thinking or imagination” (Dirlik) as opposed to the potentially obfuscating abstraction of globalized “space.”

Music, Narrative and the Moving Image

Varieties of Plurimedial Interrelations

Series:

Edited by Walter Bernhart and David Francis Urrows

Series:

Jina E. Kim

Urban Modernities reconsiders Japanese colonialism in Korea and Taiwan through a relational study of modernist literature and urban aesthetics from the late colonial period. By charting intra-Asian and transregional circulations of writers, ideas, and texts, it reevaluates the dominant narrative in current scholarship that presents Korea and Taiwan as having vastly different responses to and experiences of Japanese colonialism. By comparing representations of various colonial spaces ranging from the nation, the streets, department stores, and print spaces to underscore the shared experiences of the quotidian and the poetic, Jina E. Kim shows how the culture of urban modernity enlivened networks of connections between the colonies and destabilized the metropole-colony relationship, thus also contributing to the broader formation of global modernism.

Literature as Document

Generic Boundaries in 1930s Western Literature

Series:

Edited by Carmen Van den Bergh, Sarah Bonciarelli and Anne Reverseau

Literature as Document considers the relationship between documents and literary texts in Western Literature of the 1930s. More specifically, the volume deals with the notion of the “document” and its multifaceted and complex connections to literary “texts” and attempts to provide answers to the problematic nature of that relationship. In an effort to determine a possible theoretical definition, many different disciplines have been taken into account, as well as individual case studies. In order to observe dynamics and trends, the idea for this investigation was to look at literature, taking its practices, its factual-looking and concrete applications, as a point of departure – that is to say, then, starting from the literary object itself.

Mélanie Bourlet

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between cosmopolitanism and nationalism through the example of a transnational literature written in an African language, Pulaar, considered from a multi-located perspective. It seeks to understand to what extent a linguistically based transnational literary nationalism may be considered a form of “bottom-up cosmopolitanism” (Appadurai) that carries social aspirations. In the context of globalization, movements of linguistic revitalisation continue to grow and language has become a veritable tool for social action. This essay argues that, from a methodological standpoint, a more focused attention to the local and to translocal ties allows us to bring to light the connectivity of literature and its tendency to challenge institutionalized global literary geographies.

Ethiopian Intellectual History and the Global

Käbbädä Mikael’s Geographies of Belonging

Sara Marzagora

Abstract

Through the literary and historiographical works written by Ethiopian intellectual Käbbädä Mikael in the 1940s and 1950s, this article problematizes the concept of the “world” in world literature. In some theories of world literature, the world is presented as a static a priori, a self-evident spatial referent, a background setting for literary activities. Contrary to this objectivist frame, I propose instead to look at the world as a performative category, and to conceive world literature as a study of worldmaking processes. Käbbädä Mikael’s worldmaking attempted to break into the Eurocentric exclusivity of hegemonic narratives of modernity, jostling for recognition within modernization theory but also, at the same time, activating polycentric connections along oblique South-South networks. For him, the world was not a cosmopolitan project, but a pool of symbolic resources from which to draw in building a better future for Ethiopia.

Francesca Orsini and Laetitia Zecchini

Laetitia Zecchini

Abstract

This essay explores two different ways by which ideas and “problems” of the “world,” “India,” “Indian literature,” and “world literature” were experienced, discussed, translated, imagined and remade in specific spaces like Bombay or journals such as The Indian PEN. I focus on one relatively formalized organization, the PEN All-India Centre, which was founded in Bombay in 1933 as the Indian branch of International PEN, and on a contemporary poet, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, and the informal network of writers and artists close to him. Through the widely different agendas, practices, concerns, contexts and forms of writer collectivization which I outline in this essay, the PEN All-India Centre in the 1940s and 1950s, and the Bombay poets of the 1960s did try to eat the corners of the world and of world literature away. They aimed to break on the world stage, reclaimed an “India” that included what was non-Indian, and put forward, through translation and a cut-and-paste “collation” of the world and world literature, an idea of internationalism and interconnectedness where provincialism was the enemy. By discussing the situated, critical, and imaginative processes of reworlding that were at stake, and the struggles they gave rise to in the case of the PEN All-India Centre, I explore how these writers also put forward defiant practices of cosmopolitanism that reallocated the Eastern and the Western, the peripheral and the significant.

Peter D. McDonald

Abstract

Less concerned with the concept of World Literature than with the promise and perils of conceptualization, this essay considers what experiencing some forms of writing as world literature might involve. Using J.M. Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country (1977) as an illustrative example, it addresses questions of circulation, translation, writing systems, book history, and literary geography in the context of recent academic debates about world literary studies. It concludes by revisiting Rabindranath Tagore’s landmark 1907 essay “World Literature,” arguing that it remains an indispensable guide to experiential reading and anti-conceptual thinking.

Francesca Orsini

Abstract

“For any given observer,” David Damrosch argued in What is World Literature?, “even a genuinely global perspective remains a perspective from somewhere, and global patterns of the circulation of world literature take shape in their local manifestations.” Within world-system approaches that fix centres, peripheries and semiperipheries, or with approaches that consider world literature only that which circulates transnationally or “globally,” the relativizing import of this important insight remains inert or gets forgotten. As Indian editors and writers in the early decades of the twentieth century undertook more translations of foreign works and discussed the relationship between India and the world, overlapping understandings of world literature emerged in the Indian literary field. This essay explores three different visions of world literature from the same region and period but in different languages – English, Hindi, and Urdu – highlighting their different impulses, contexts, approaches, and outcomes in order to refine our notion of location. And whereas much of the recent debate and activities around world literature has revolved around the curriculum or around publishers’ series and anthologies, in the Indian case exposure to and discussion of literature from other parts of the world took largely place in the pages of periodicals.

Xavier Garnier

Abstract

Probably because of its relationship with a coastal culture, Swahili literature seems very aware of its position in the world. Through a reading of Swahili poems and novels across a range of genres, this paper explores the ways in which Swahili writers have engaged in a dialogue with the whole world, from the colonial period to the contemporary era. The evolution of well-identified literary forms such as epic poetry, ethnographic novel or crime novel will also pave the way for identifying the specificities of a Swahili cosmopolitanism anxious to cultivate an art of living in the age of a kind of globalization whose effects are often harshly felt at the local level. Because it has long developed an awareness of the world, Swahili literature has often pioneered the invention of literary forms that are able to translate locally the movements of the world.

Neo-Latin and the Vernaculars

Bilingual Interactions in the Early Modern Period

Series:

Edited by Florian Schaffenrath and Alexander Winkler

The early modern world was profoundly bilingual: alongside the emerging vernaculars, Latin continued to be pervasively used well into the 18th century. Authors were often active in and conversant with both vernacular and Latin discourses. The language they chose for their writings depended on various factors, be they social, cultural, or merely aesthetic, and had an impact on how and by whom these texts were received. Due to the increasing interest in Neo-Latin studies, early modern bilingualism has recently been attracting attention. This volumes provides a series of case studies focusing on key aspects of early modern bilingualism, such as language choice, translations/rewritings, and the interferences between vernacular and Neo-Latin discourses.

Contributors are Giacomo Comiati, Ronny Kaiser, Teodoro Katinis, Francesco Lucioli, Giuseppe Marcellino, Marianne Pade, Maxim Rigaux, Florian Schaffenrath, Claudia Schindler, Federica Signoriello, Thomas Velle, Alexander Winkler.

Boris Vian, faiseur de hoax

Pour une démystification de l’Affaire Vernon Sullivan

Series:

Clara Sitbon

Boris Vian, faiseur de hoax : pour une démystification de l’Affaire Vernon Sullivan propose la première véritable théorie du canular, ou hoax littéraire : Qu’est-ce qu’un hoax littéraire ? Comment se manifeste-t-il ? Quelles en sont les conséquences sur la fonction de l’auteur ?
S’inspirant de grands théoriciens de la littérature tels Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault ou Jacques Derrida, Clara Sitbon applique sa toute nouvelle théorie des hoaxes littéraires à des exemples tirés des littératures française, britannique et australienne et, ce faisant, parvient à établir la première typologie des hoaxes. Plus précisément, à travers une analyse détaillée de l’Affaire Boris Vian/Vernon Sullivan (1946-1950) comme fil rouge, Clara Sitbon démontre habilement que le hoax littéraire peut être un outil d’analyse littéraire de qualité. Plus important encore, elle prouve que les auteurs pseudonymes, ces compagnons d’infortunes de leurs créateurs ont, eux aussi, une légitimité littéraire.

Boris Vian, faiseur de hoax : pour une démystification de l’Affaire Vernon Sullivan offers the first comprehensive theory of literary hoaxes: What are they? How can recognise them? How do they work? What are their consequences on the notion of authorship?
Drawing on literary theorists such as Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, Clara Sitbon applies her theory to a range of hoaxes in French, British and Australian literatures, thereby providing a detailed typology of hoaxes. More particularly, through detailed analysis of the Boris Vian/Vernon Sullivan Affair (France, 1946-1950) as a case study for her theory, Clara Sitbon cleverly demonstrates that the literary hoax can indeed be a useful analytical tool in literary criticism. More importantly, she proves that pseudonymous authors can indeed have a literary legitimacy.

Series:

Edited by Dagmar Vandebosch and Theo D'haen

Goethe in 1827 famously claimed that national literatures did not mean very much anymore, and that the epoch of world literature was at hand. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, in the so-called "transnational turn" in literary studies, interest in world literature, and in how texts move beyond national or linguistic boundaries, has peaked. The authors of the 18 articles making up Literary Transnationalism(s) reflect on how literary texts move between cultures via translation, adaptation, and intertextual referencing, thus entering the field of world literature. The texts and subjects treated range from Caribbean, American, and Latin American literature to European migrant literatures, from the uses of pseudo-translations to the organizing principles of world histories of literature, from the dissemination of knowledge in the middle ages to circulation of literary journals and series in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Contributors include, amongst others, Jean Bessière, Johan Callens, Reindert Dhondt, César Domínguez, Erica Durante, Ottmar Ette, Kathleen Gyssels, Reine Meylaerts, and Djelal Kadir. Authors discussed comprise, amongst others, Carlos Fuentes, Ernest Hemingway, Edouard Glissant.

Pasquale Macaluso

Abstract

Riḥlah bayna al-jibāl fi maʿāqil al-thāʾirīn was serialized in the Jaffa newspaper Al-Jāmiʿah al-Islāmiyyah towards the end of the 1936 Palestine revolt. Under the guise of a reportage by a Western journalist, the series successfully defied British censorship and published interviews with guerrilla commanders and rank-and-file rebels, and one of Fawzī al-Qāwuqjī’s communiqués. Following the main trend of literary reportage at that time, the author adopted a viewpoint focused on the rebels’ cause and emphasized the ability of the Arabs of Palestine to face the challenges of modernity. The narrator comments on the skills and virtues of rebel leaders and common people, rejecting the dehumanizing image that colonial officials and Western newspapers were making of them, and romantically depicting the nighttime Palestinian landscape. At the same time, the description of the insurgents’ organization projects the picture of an orderly society, equipped with the institutions and symbols that typically define modern states.

Kirsten Beck

Abstract

Abū al-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī’s (d. 971) Kitāb al-Aghānī chapter on Majnūn Laylā (“Akhbār Majnūn Banī ʿĀmir wa nasabuh”) confronts its audience with unresolving divergent knowledge about Majnūn. We are left not only wondering about his name, his origin, and his mental state, but also his being—does he even exist? This paper examines the potential impact of Iṣbahānī’s selection and presentation of akhbār in this Aghānī chapter, making a case for a literary approach to Iṣbahānī’s text fitting with the medieval concept of adab. It asserts that the line of questions we are compelled to ask about Majnūn implicates us in his madness and the madness of the text, which disrupts and complicates that which appears most essential to his story.

Rachel Friedman

Abstract

Islamic theology has normatively considered the Qurʾān to be the Islamic miracle par excellence. This article reads a formative treatise on the topic, Kitāb Iʿjāz al-Qurʾān by Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī (d. 403/1013), in light of literary debates over badīʿ poetry in the early Abbasid era. It argues that al-Bāqillānī’s theorizing of the Qurʾān’s literary-rhetorical excellence is best understood in this context, demonstrating that his articulation of aesthetic priorities was shaped by the controversy over badīʿ poetry. In particular, the influence of Abbasid literary discourse is evident in the manner in which al-Bāqillānī champions the clear communication of meaning over ornamentation in texts, showing how contemporaneous literary trends and debates shaped Abbasid iʿjāz al-Qurʾān discourse.

Anthologizing Race

Folk, Volk and Untranslation in the Weimar Republic

Anna Muenchrath

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.

Taha Hussein

Translator May Hawas

Jernej Habjan

Abstract

The first Slovenian novel is yet to be read in a way that is both comparative and sociological. For while Slovenian studies treats the emergence of the Slovenian novel sociologically but not comparatively, comparative literature studies views it comparatively yet not sociologically. This gap can be filled by the perspective of the literary world-system. Moreover, this viewpoint can subtilize the thesis of Slovenian studies that the belatedness of the Slovenian novel is part of the belatedness of the Slovenian bourgeoisie as well as the comparatist thesis that the Slovenian novel became possible only after the end of the possibility of the traditional European novel. The world-systemic approach can grasp this belatedness as a social fact that speaks less of the Slovenian novel’s essence than of the structural relations between Slovenian culture and its European social environment.

Theo D’haen

In Quest of Ourselves

A Highly Important Matter

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar

Translator Evren Akaltun and Trevor Hope

Hermann Hesse

Translator B. Venkat Mani

Zhongshu Qian

Translator Longxi Zhang

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

Translator Robert Patrick Newcomb

Translator Ksenija Vraneš and Branko Vraneš

Matthias Buschmeier

Abstract

This article reviews attempts to define histories of world literature during the late 19th and first half of the 20th century. It submits that “World Literature” and national philology are two sides of the same coin, in that they serve to produce specific national identities and legitimize colonial hegemonic practices. Astonishingly, some patterns of these early histories of world literature can still be observed in contemporary theoretical debates on the subject. Thus, it is argued that, rather than dismissing this heritage of Western historiography (with or without condemnation), we should strive seriously to come up with alternative histories, wherein “West” is no longer treated as synonymous with “world,” and vice versa. The West should be seen as just one form of society and culture among the many others, all of which are due consideration when invoking the term “world.”

ʿAbd al-Rahman Munif

Translator Sonja Mejcher-Atassi and Iman Al Kaisy

Conjunctures of the “New” World Literature and Migration Studies

Cosmopolitanism, Religion, and Diasporic Sisters of Scheherazade

Susan Stanford Friedman

Abstract

The essay explores the overlapping discourses in the fields of the “new” world literature and the “new” migration studies, with a focus on their related discourses of circulation and cosmopolitanism. It examines the transnational circulation of writers in addition to texts in twenty-first century world literature with specific discussions of the cosmopolitan treatment of religion in the work of selected diasporic Muslim women writers, featuring Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul and Mohja Kahf’s E-Mails from Scheherazad and The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. The essay considers the importance for diasporic Muslim women writers of Scheherazade as a learned woman and clever storyteller who saves the realm through words, not violence. Confronting Islamophobia and Orientalist fantasies of Muslim women, these authors locate traditions of cosmopolitanism and religious tolerance within their own heritage, not as an exclusive property of the West.

A Critique of ‘Literary Worlds’ in World Literature Theory

Multidimensionality as a Basis of Comparison

Ryan Johnson

Abstract

Recently, critics of world literature such as Alexander Beecroft, Eric Hayot, and Haun Saussy have argued that a multitude of possible literary worlds make up the world of world literature. Literary worlds theory provides a richer and more relativistic account of how literary production and analysis work than do similar models such as Franco Moretti’s and Pascale Casanova’s world literary systems. However, the theory runs into two difficulties: it downplays the socio-historical situation of the critic and the text; and it has difficulty accounting for the cross-world identity of characters and how logically inconsistent worlds access one another. To refine the theory, I modify G.E.R. Lloyd’s concept of the “multidimensionality” of reality and literature. Strengthening Lloyd’s concept through reference to recent work in comparative East-West philosophy, I contend that the addition of Lloyd’s theory resolves the problems presented above while still allowing for a relativistic critical approach to world literature.

Hendrik Birus

Abstract

Since the turn of the millennium the idea of “World Literature” has experienced a boom. This development is closely connected with the increasingly rapid globalization process, which began during the first few decades of the nineteenth century and led to the co-emergence of Weltliteratur and Littérature comparée in 1827. Goethe’s proclamation of the “Epoch of World Literature” created the impression that existing national literatures were to be supplanted; instead, however, the same period simultaneously witnessed the latter’s triumphant proliferation. Beecroft’s typology of the evolution of literary systems may assist in overcoming the rather pointless antithesis between world literature and national literatures. Since literary translation now plays an increasingly important role, it has become an indispensable factor contributing to the flourishing of world literature.

Introduction

Debating World Literature

Omid Azadibougar and David Damrosch

Island Politics

Surrealism on the Periphery of the Periphery

Delia Ungureanu

Abstract

In 1929, the father of surrealism André Breton and his friends published a “world map in the time of the surrealists,” which placed the Pacific in the center with a disappearing Europe and a nonexistent USA, and showing oversized islands from New Guinea to Ireland. During the 1930s, surrealist ideas and practices were creatively transformed beyond recognition by marginal writers who had emigrated to and/or excommunicated surrealists living in Paris. Looking beyond Casanova’s and Moretti’s centers and (semi)peripheries that organize the world system, I argue that by thinking instead of cultural centers like Paris as inhabited simultaneously both by central but also by (semi)peripheral writers we may get new and more nuanced insights into the circulation and transformation of ideas beyond the traditional story of surrealism told by literary histories. Using the example of the French translation of Joyce’s “Anna Livia Plurabelle,” I uncover the hidden story of the transformation of Joyce’s text into a surrealist cognate from the peripheries of surrealism itself.

Multilingual Code-Stitching in Ultraminor World Literatures

Reading Abhimanyu Unnuth’s Lāla Pasīnā (1977) with Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies (2008)

B. Venkat Mani

Abstract

This essay explores strategies of world literary comparison when ultraminor literatures are juxtaposed with dominant literary traditions such as the global Anglophone. By bringing an English and a Hindi novel in conversation, the essay underlines their “multilingual” composition, whereby one language becomes a vehicle for several other languages, dialects, sociolects, regional linguistic variations and creole, thus calling for a new critical framework of evaluation within the national and the world-literary sphere. The essay engages with a new theoretical term in world literary studies, “ultraminor literature” in order to re-evaluate two other terms: the “great unread,” and the “untranslatable.” The essay argues that the idea of “untranslatability” denies any room for multi-locational and multilingual histories of linguistic traditions. Furthermore, untranslatability creates hierarchies of readerships and access, which can be confronted by engaging with linguistic code-stitching and the multilingual composition of ultraminor literatures.

Omid Azadibougar

Abstract

Critiques of World Literature often come with assumptions that are formed with reference to more central cultures’ conceptualization(s) of the relationship between literature, society and politics. As a result, they almost always neglect, perhaps unwittingly, the pluralities of literature in the world, and the specific and unexpected way(s) translated literature functions in diverse contexts. Focused on the condition of peripherality and engaging literary translation, academic relevance, and political impact, this paper addresses some of the critiques with specific examples from a peripheral context, to argue why the study of World Literature matters, and how it can lead to social and political effects that are not visible from the perspective of central cultures.

Rewriting the Legacy of the Turkish Exile of Comparative Literature

Philology and Nationalism in Istanbul, 1933–1946

Firat Oruc

Abstract

Numerous critics have revisited the Turkish exile of “the founding fathers” of humanist philology, Erich Auerbach and Leo Spitzer, in the period between the rise of Nazism in Germany and the end of World War II. Yet these recuperative analyses have been centered on the role of the experience of cultural displacement in the intellectual transformation of the émigré scholars. By contrast, this article offers a critical analysis of how the Turkish end of humanism (especially in the case of Auerbach and Spitzer’s students) was entangled with the politics of Kemalist cultural reforms. If comparative literature was “invented” during the Istanbul exile of Spitzer and Auerbach, this article re-writes this invention process by highlighting the semantic and ideological inflections it took in the hands of the Turkish humanists.

Significant Geographies

In lieu of World Literature

Karima Laachir, Sara Marzagora and Francesca Orsini

Abstract

One of the problems with current theories of world literature is that the term “world” is insufficiently probed and theorized. As a category, “world” is too generic and suggests a continuity and seamlessness that are both deceptive and self-fulfilling. Easy invocations of “world” and “global” (novel, literary marketplace) replicate the blindspots that Sanjay Krishnan identified when he called the global an instituted perspective, with macro-theories drawing unproblematically on theories of globalization elaborated in the social sciences. Instead, in our comparative project Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies we argue that to theorize world literature taking on board the complexities, layers and multiplicity of “literatures in the world” (as S. Shankar prefers to call it), we need a richer spatial imagination of the “world.” Here we propose the notion of “significant geographies” as the conceptual, imaginative, and real geographies that texts, authors, and language communities inhabit, produce, and reach out to.

Heterographics as a Literary Device

Auditory, Visual, and Cultural Features

Helena Bodin

Abstract

Heterographics (“other lettering”) refers to the use of two scripts in one text or a translation of a text from one script to another. How might the occasional use of heterographics in literary texts highlight issues of cultural diversity? Drawing on intermedial theory and studies of literary multilingualism, literary translation, and pluriliteracies, this article examines various functions of heterographics in selected contemporary literary texts. Examples of embedded Greek, Chinese, Cyrillic, and Arabic script are analysed in works published in Swedish, French, and English between 2004 and 2015, selected because they thematise cultural diversity and linguistic boundaries. The conclusion is that heterographic devices emphasise the heteromediality of literary texts, thereby heightening readers’ awareness of the visual-spatial features of literary texts, as well as of the materiality of scripts. Heterographics influence readers’ experiences of cultural affinity or alterity, that is, of inclusion or exclusion, depending on their access to practices of pluriliteracies.

Introduction

The Theory Deficit in Translingual Studies

Michael Boyden and Eugenia Kelbert

Postvernacular Prufrock

Isaac Rosenfeld and Saul Bellow’s Yiddish “Translation” of T.S. Eliot’s Modernism

Michael Boyden

Abstract

This article offers an explorative reading of a parodic Yiddish rendition of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” entitled “Der shir hashirim fun Mendl Pumshtok” that was composed by Isaac Rosenfeld and Saul Bellow during their student years in Chicago. The article argues that, by measuring themselves against the main representative of high modernism and by giving a markedly ethnic inflection to Eliot’s poem, Brooks and Rosenfeld attempted to transcend the assumed provincialism of their situation and elbow their way into the American literary canon. More generally, the article suggests that parodic “translations” of this kind, by highlighting the postvernacular dimension of literary language (Shandler), extend the purview of translingual studies by valuing performativity, orality, and collaboration over and against competency as defining elements of linguistic border crossing in an age that has sometimes too hastily been characterized as post-national or post-Romantic. The article thus points to the relevance of what the author calls literary amphilingualism, a prevalent but understudied phenomenon in translingual studies.

Steven G. Kellman

Abstract

The articles in this special issue on Literary Translingualism by Helgesson and Kullberg, Robinson, Boyden, and Bodin all insist on language as fluid and non-discrete. What Boyden calls “amphilingualism” is a useful way to describe the porousness of languages. These and other scholars of translingualism are at odds with the ascendant nativism that is enforcing boundaries between nations and languages. Translations further problematize the sovereignty of language and national culture, and they are crucial to the process of elevating a text in the global hypercanon. What Bodin calls “heterographics,” the coexistence of separate scripts within a single text, is a useful extension of literary translingualism.