|Collage by Maureen Mullarkey|
Marx and Engels blew that interpretation out of the water, and after 1848 "world literature" came more and more to be identified with comparative literature, which began to establish itself as a scholarly discipline. Not that everyone agreed with that conflation, and in the decades before the appearance of Goethe und die Weltliteratur there occasionally appeared an essay or a book that sought to rescue the concept from the comparatists.
Since at least the 1980s, the concept of "Eurocentrism" has been intimately linked to the world literature industry. It is true that Europe and its offshoots have dominated the rest of the world in economic terms, to the extent of producing inequalities in respect of “marginalized peripheries.” (That's from Samir Amin, the guy who invented the term "Eurocentrism.") And in a burst of 19th-century overreach, they sought to "export" their institutions to non-Europe, with not such great results. In my essay on Strich, however, I seek to distinguish "Europe" as an economic product from "European" literature. The former is in about "progress," which means rejecting what was loved only yesterday. In non-material terms, this has given rise to one of the most characteristic features of Western life of the past several centuries, namely, the rejection of the intellectual and cultural authority of the past (the Battle of Ancients and Moderns marking an early milestone in this rejection).
|"Using Literature to Teach Global Citizenship"|
"[I]n translation studies, the limits of sayability and expressibility are increasingly a focus, conjugating logic and philology, with the latter understood in Werner Hamacher's ascription as an 'inclination' (or disinclination) to that which is 'said and not said.'"
Why the weird use of "conjugate" and "ascription" here? And how does the second half of the sentence follow on the first? And why are the writings of full professors so offputting?
|Proudhon and His Children by Gustave Courbet (1853)|
I am beginning to find something weird about the world literature movement. Besides the endless numbers of conferences, I just came across an announcement for a "Four-Day Vacation School" on the topic of "World Literature: Theories, Practice, Pegagogy." Held in September at the University of Warwick, it was sponsored by "the Connecting Cultures Grp." Need I say more?
Picture credit: Vamos a leer; Encyclopedia Britannica