Apter's argument, as per the n+1 critics mentioned in the previous post, is a critique of the nexus between world literature and the economic processes of globalization. The anthologies thus obscure what Fisk calls the "extra-literary implications" of world literature, i.e., the links between "the commercial, the literary, and the curricular." Again, duh!
|Paris on a Rainy Day, by Gustave Caillebotte (1877)|
If we wish to preserve literature, to set it apart from transient market products, we must insist that the literary heritage preserves "values" that are worth preserving. Those works that we consider great are foundational to civilization. The past was never a golden age, but in the long stretch of history, certain values have been transmitted, even during the most terrible cataclysms. Their survival suggests that they are essential to the human condition and, indeed, to the continuance of civilization: love of family, sacrifice for others, courage, self-discipline, self-reliance, inner cultivation, patriotism. Aristotle summed them all up long ago, and no one has improved on them. (To judge by this world literature reader for 10th-graders, these anthologies are introducing students to these values.)
|Antigone and the body of Polynices|
And what has been the academic response to this inheritance? An attack on the literary patrimony, which has been rechristened as "patriarchy." It is not only "capitalist structures" (as Fisk writes) that inflict "violence" on the world; violence is inflicted daily on our own literary and, indeed, cultural inheritance in college classrooms.