World Literature: A Reader, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

World Literature

A Reader, 1st Edition

Edited by Theo D'haen, César Domínguez, Mads Rosendahl Thomsen


378 pages

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pub: 2012-05-31
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World Literature is an increasingly influential subject in literary studies, which has led to the re-framing of contemporary ideas of ‘national literatures’, language and translation.

World Literature: A Reader brings together thirty essential readings which display the theoretical foundations of the subject, as well as showing its conceptual development over a two hundred year period.

The book features:

  • an illuminating introduction to the subject, with suggested reading paths to help readers navigate through the materials
  • texts exploring key themes such as globalization, cosmopolitanism, post/trans-nationalism, and translation and nationalism
  • writings by major figures including J. W. Goethe, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Longxi Zhao, David Damrosch, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Pascale Casanova and Milan Kundera.

The early explorations of the meaning of ‘Weltliteratur’ are introduced, while twenty-first century interpretations by leading scholars today show the latest critical developments in the field. The editors offer readers the ideal introduction to the theories and debates surrounding the impact of this crucial area on the modern literary landscape.


‘There is no doubt that World Literature. A Reader will prove to be a must for years to come in the class room and the library. It’s both rich and provocative selection of texts from the last 200 years brings new perspectives into a world of globalized cultures.’ Svend Erik Larsen, Aarhus University, Denmark

‘This is an important and timely collection. The editors have provided a genuinely international map of key writings in this expanding subject that is changing the face of literary studies in our age. It will be invaluable to students around the world.’ Susan Bassnett, University of Warwick, UK

‘This finely edited volume brings together classical texts of world literature, but distinguishes itself by devoting half of its pages to work written in the past ten years…The present volume will do much to bring the era of world literature within our reach.’ Martin Puchner, Harvard University, USA

Table of Contents

    1. Origen, progresos y estado actual de toda la literatura Juan Andrés

    2. On World Literature J. W. Goethe

    3. The Communist Manifesto Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels

    4. Present Tasks of Comparative Literature Hugo Meltzl de Lomnitz

    5. Weltlitteratur Georg Brandes

    6. World Literature and Its Place in General Culture Richard Moulton

    7. Weltliteratur und Vergleichende Literaturgeschichte Fritz Strich

    8. Preface to World Literature Albert Guérard

    9. Philology and Weltliteratur Erich Auerbach

    10. On the Integrity of Our Planning Werner P. Friederich

    11. Writing Histories of World Literature Jan C. Brandt Corstius

    12. Faut-il réviser la notion de Weltliteratur? René Étiemble

    13. Dialectics of Historical Development of National and World Literature Irina Grigorevna Neupokoyeva

    14. A Footnote to Weltliteratur George Steiner

    15. The Reemergence of World Literature A. Owen. Aldridge

    16. The Tao and the Logos Longxi Zhang

    17. The Challenge of Comparative Literature Claudio Guillén

    18. World Literature as a Target Literary-Historical Category Dionýz Ďurišin

    19. Conjectures on World Literature & More Conjectures Franco Moretti

    20. World Literature and Global Theory: Comparative Literature for the New Millennium Vilashini Cooppan

    21. What is World Literature? David Damrosch

    22. Death of a Discipline Gayatri Ch. Spivak

    23. World Literature and World Politics: In Search of a Research Agenda Gerard Holden

    24. Anthologizing "World Literature" Sarah Lawall

    25. Global Literature and Technologies of Recognition Shu-Mei Shih

    26. Literature as a World Pascale Casanova

    27. Die Weltliteratur Milan Kundera

    28. The Scale of World Literature Nirvana Tanoukhi

    29. Canonization and World Literature: the Nobel Experience Horace Engdahl

    30. The Globalization of the Novel and the Novelization of the Global: A Critique of World Literature Mariano Siskind

About the Editors


Cesar Dominguez

Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain

Learn more about Cesar Dominguez >>

Theo D’haen is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at K.U. Leuven University, Belgium and has also worked in Holland, France and America. He is Editor-in-Chief of the European Review, and President of FILLM (Fédération Internationale de Langues et Littératures Modernes) 2008-2012.

César Domínguez is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He is a member of boards of the Spanish Comparative Literature Association and the European Network for Comparative Literary Studies, Chair of the ICLA Research Committee, and member of the ICLA Coordinating Committee and the Academia Europaea.

Mads Rosendahl Thomsen is Asscociate Professor in Comparative Literature at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is the author of Mapping World Literature: International Canonization and Transnational Literatures.

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Routledge Literature Readers

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