World Literature Decentered : Beyond the “West” through Turkey, Mexico and Bengal book cover
1st Edition

World Literature Decentered
Beyond the “West” through Turkey, Mexico and Bengal

ISBN 9780367683375
Published July 14, 2021 by Routledge
262 Pages

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Book Description

What would world literature look like, if we stopped referring to the “West”? Starting with the provocative premise that the “‘West’ is ten percent of the planet”, World Literature Decentered is the first book to decenter Eurocentric discourses of global literature and global history – not just by deconstructing or historicizing them, but by actively providing an alternative. Looking at a series of themes across three literatures (Mexico, Turkey and Bengal), the book examines hotels, melancholy, orientalism, femicide and the ghost story in a series of literary traditions outside the “West”. The non-West, the book argues, is no fringe group or token minority in need of attention – on the contrary, it constitutes the overwhelming majority of this world. 

Table of Contents

Introduction. Circumventing the West.

Chapter One. The Ghost Story: Hayalet, Fantasma, Bhut

Chapter Two. The Hotel Narrative: Anayurt, Shahjahan, Isabel

Chapter Three. Femicide Narratives: Mujer, Mohila, Kadın

Chapter Four. Retelling Myth: Mito, Katha, Efsane

Chapter Five. Melancholy: Monomora, Melancolía, Hüzün

Chapter Six. The Orient: Şark, Prachi, Oriente

Conclusion. The Ten Percenters.

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Ian Almond is Professor of World Literature at Georgetown University in Qatar. He is the author of six books, most recently Two Faiths, One Banner (2009) and The Thought of Nirad C. Chaudhuri (2015), and over 50 articles in a variety of journals. He specializes in comparative world literature, with a tri-continental emphasis on Mexico, Bengal and Turkey. His work has been translated into 13 languages. He has lived and worked in the Middle East (Qatar and Turkey) for over 15 years.


"World Literature Decentered is a vital, ambitious contribution to world-literary criticism that seeks to contribute to the radical democratization of ‘World Literature’  … its pliant readings … uncover how [World Literature is] both imprinted by and contributes to the larger patterns of imperialism and capitalist modernity." Sharae Deckard, Associate Professor in World Literature, University College Dublin


"World Literature Decentered is an important and necessary corrective to the idea that World Literature is the province of the European, or the circulation of culture in the English and French Languages." Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado,  Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Washington University in Saint Louis, USA