Pheng Cheah: Let me begin by saying that the title of my book very clearly alludes to David Damrosch’s book, What Is WorldLiterature? I have learned a lot from David’s book, which, if it hasn’t inaugurated a new field in literary studies, has certainly reinvigorated it and given it new life. I
Aleksis Kivi (1834-1872) is Finland’s greatest writer. His great 1870 novel
The Brothers Seven has been translated 59 times into 34 languages. Is he world literature, or not? In
Aleksis Kivi and/as World Literature Douglas Robinson uses this question as a wedge for exploring the nature and nurture of world literature, and the contributions made by translators to it.
Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of major and minor literature, Robinson argues that translators have mainly “majoritized” Kivi—translated him respectfully—and so created images of literary tourism that ill suit recognition as world literature. Far better, he insists, is the impulse to minoritize—to find and celebrate the minor writer in Kivi, who “
sends the major language racing.”
. Instead of criticizing the poets for their lack of critical reflection on the subjugated position of colonial Taiwan in the world literary space, the documentary shows how the Taiwanese poets’ keen interest in worldliterature from the West opened up a new horizon of literary imagination in colonial
1 WorldLiterature and Mobility An uneasy relationship between global expansionism and local difference lies at the heart of the concept of worldliterature. David Damrosch famously defines worldliterature as literature that “circulate[s] out into a broader world beyond its linguistic and cultural
development that could be observed in all cultures. Following Maine’s theory of social evolution, Posnett suggests that literatures had to express the development of different social stages “from communal to individual life” (20), evolving from “clan literatures”, to “city commonwealths”, to “worldliterature
As if half-conscious of their brazenness, new words enter the world in stealth, just as – even as – new worlds so often enter a word sight unseen. What translate, in English, as worldliterature and comparative literature slip into European circulation via fragments (witness Johann Wolfgang von
a reading of the different worlds of literature beyond the traditional categories of text, reader, writer and critic. By opening up the focus of analysis to literature’s producers and consumers as embodied multilingual presences, we hope to provide a more nuanced understanding of WorldLiterature
responsibilities and their future missions – and it is also within this zone of conflict that the ongoing debate about worldliterature plays out.
On the one hand, worldliterature is seen as the natural antonym of the national paradigm in philology. As such, it is ascribed ethical and political value by those
Warriors”) in the West and Franklin Book Programs in the non-aligned context had implicit political purposes, they contributed to the formation and/or circulation of books and worldliterature in new contexts. 1 While this has been under-studied, historians of the Cold War have been quick to dismiss the
1 Located Views “For any given observer,” David Damrosch argued in What is WorldLiterature? , “even a genuinely global perspective remains a perspective from somewhere , and global patterns of the circulation of worldliterature take shape in their local manifestations” (27). Within world