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A Cultural and Sociolinguistic Study of Dutch as a Contact Language in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan
In The Dutch Language in Japan (1600-1900) Christopher Joby offers the first book-length account of the knowledge and use of the Dutch language in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan. For most of this period, the Dutch were the only Europeans permitted to trade with Japan. Using the analytical tool of language process, this book explores the nature and consequences of contact between Dutch and Japanese and other language varieties. The processes analysed include language learning, contact and competition, code switching, translation, lexical, syntactic and graphic interference, and language shift. The picture that emerges is that the multifarious uses of Dutch, especially the translation of Dutch books, would have a profound effect on the language, society, culture and intellectual life of Japan.
A Diachronic Semantic Analysis of Consideration in the Common Law
Author: Caroline Laske
In this monograph, Caroline Laske traces the advent of consideration in English contract law, by analysing the doctrinal development, in parallel with the corresponding terminological evolution and semantic shifts between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is an innovative, interdisciplinary study, showcasing the value of taking a diachronic corpus linguistics-based approach to the study of legal change and legal development, and the semantic shifts in the corresponding terminology. The seminal application in the legal field of these analytical methodologies borrowed from pragmatic linguistics goes beyond the content approach that legal research usually practices and it has allowed for claims of semantic change to be objectified. This ground-breaking work is pitched at scholars of legal history, law & language, and linguistics.

Abstract

The hierarchical system described by Pascale Casanova in The World Republic of Letters and La Langue mondiale is confirmed by the global phenomenon of relay translations, which attests that international exchanges are rarely bilateral. The study of relay or indirect translations completes what she says about the crucial role of mediators in the mechanisms of literary circulation. Yet the concrete processes of the intervention of the third party are only occasionally studied (in case studies) and are rarely synthesized. They bring into play mere configurations of the international in a non-systemic, but historical and not always deterministic way. This article attempts to theorize a practice that modifies the frames of thought of translation itself.

In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

World literature studies is the most open field of all. In principle, it excludes nothing and no one. Things become interesting, however, when certain heroes emerge. In this article, I discuss two major influences on Pascale Casanova’s work which gave it a very distinctive position and generated new challenges. The adaptation of the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu in Casanova’s probes to what extent a theory developed to describe a predominantly national frame of reference could be transferred to the international domain. Casanova’s return to the question of the nation in her last work underlines the challenge of applying field theory in a world literature context. Casanova’s two monographs devoted to a single author, Samuel Beckett and Franz Kafka, respectively, are symptomatic for a particular kind of author in her critical work: the writer working from the semi-periphery in a way that makes a deep impact in the center.

In: Journal of World Literature
Author: David Damrosch

Abstract

Pascale Casanova’s seminal book has had an enormous and continuing impact around the world in a dozen languages, and as a result La République mondiale des lettres has itself become subject to the processes described within the book itself, as it enters world scholarly space. Casanova herself reflected directly on the somewhat unsettling results of this process, and her subsequent work was shaped in various ways by the international response to her pathbreaking book. This essay examines Casanova’s responses to the varied responses to her book, and suggests that her subsequent books should be understood as embodying a resulting mixture of resistance and rethinking of her earlier positions.

In: Journal of World Literature
In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between literary prizes and the framing of contemporary francophone literature as world literature. Using a literary and sociological lens, I analyze how the Prix des Cinq Continents marketed itself as a kind of French-speaking Nobel, promoting the idea of a world literature in French. This article examines the prize’s different criteria for selection through close readings of promotional materials as well as interviews conducted between 2012 and 2016 with members of the jury, prize administrators, prize-winners, and representatives from the Senegalese reading committee. My research shows how the prize administrators’ rhetoric of diversity, hides the inequalities and exclusionary practices that “francophone” writers must face. This article argues that the idea of world literature has been recuperated by the OIF to protect the category of “francophone” and consolidate the domination of French cultural power in its former colonies.

In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

Pascale Casanova’s notion of the “world republic of letters” systematically transcends national boundaries, as well as the opposition between internalist structural analyses and externalist political reductions, arguing that individual works of literature acquire their meaning only against the background of this transnational literary field with its own, irreducibly literary forms of domination. Yet, I will argue, Casanova’s work is not yet sufficiently transnational and not sufficiently historicizing; specifically, it overlooks non-Western cosmopolitan traditions and premodern vernacularization processes. As a case study, I will discuss the vernacularization of Georgian, Kurdish, and Armenian within the Persianate cosmopolitan, and on the consecration of national epics in these three languages. These examples suggest an approach to the literary field that allows for greater geographical width and historical depth; it also invites us to look for more radical historical variability in the concept of literature itself.

In: Journal of World Literature

Abstract

The main focus of my article is to investigate the fate of Pascale Casanova’s translated work in the former communist literary spaces, where her theoretical argument about linguistic and historical dominance is a historical reality. I begin by examining the editorial decisions behind the translation of The World Republic of Letters into Romanian (2007, second ed. 2016) and the most representative echoes of this seminal book in several formerly communist countries (Romania, Serbia, Slovenia). I then test an essential concept in Pascale Casanova’s work: literary autonomy. Seen as a powerful tool to address the almost insurmountable break between textual singularity and its necessary historicity (Casanova 2005), literary autonomy can play an equally important role in investigating ideologically controlled literary spaces.

In: Journal of World Literature