Reexamining World Literature : Challenging Current Assumptions and Envisioning Possibilities book cover
1st Edition

Reexamining World Literature
Challenging Current Assumptions and Envisioning Possibilities

ISBN 9781032238807
Published December 13, 2021 by Routledge
138 Pages

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Book Description

Serrano calls for a reassessment of the practice of World Literature with six case studies taken from the Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Korean and Latin American traditions. Although in recent years the field has adopted more inclusive and wide-ranging criteria for college-level anthologies of World Literature, and has seen the collection and publication of critical readers, book-length introductions, and even a history, the theoretical predisposition of most of its practitioners paradoxically has led to a shrinking of its horizons and a narrowing of its vision. Reexamining World Literature asks scholars to look beyond the current dominant definition of World Literature (works in English with broad reach or works in other languages with significant circulation in English translation) in order to engage with a range of complex texts that elude the field’s assumptions. World Literature need not be a we-are-the-world of shared values, but instead should ask readers to question what those values are.

Table of Contents


Chapter One Sun Yunfeng (1764–1814): Woman out of Place

Chapter Two Paul Claudel (1868–1955): Lost before Translation

Chapter Three Esteban Echeverría (1805–1851): La Cautiva Lost to History

Chapter Four Jamil Buthayna (7th c.) in the Book of Songs (10th c.): Man out of Poetry

Chapter Five Friedrich Rückert’s (1788–1866) Unnachahmlich Qur’an

Chapter Six Yi Ok (1760–1815): Man out of Time


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Richard Serrano is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. His primary research interest is intercultural transmission.