Advertisement

Neohelicon

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 349–365 | Cite as

Encountering the world

  • Marshall Brown
Article

Abstract

David Damrosch’s writings on world literature envision readers “making themselves at home abroad.” This essay argues against his Thoreauvian optimism, given a world that is too large to grasp or to become a home. World literature cannot be naturalized. Drawing on examples from Leibniz, Achebe, Walcott, and Petrarch, the essay proposes that world literature is best identified in terms not of the value of authors and works, nor of the situations portrayed through the characters and plots, but of the nature of the readerly experience. It examines the style of representation in world literature, which Brian Lennon’s book In Babels Shadow productively characterizes as a kind of kitsch reflecting a struggle to communicate. World literature is not, as Damrosch says, “writing that gains in translation,” but writing that retains its alienness even in the original.

Keywords

World literature David Damrosch Translation Foreignness 

References

  1. Adorno, T. W. (1981). Wörter aus der Fremde. Noten zur Literatur (R. Tiedemann, Ed., pp. 216–232). Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  2. Adorno, T. W. (1991). Words from abroad. Notes to literature (R. Tiedemann, Ed.; S. W. Nicholson, Trans., pp. 185–199). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at large: Cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baudrillard, J. (1988). America (C. Turner, Trans.). New York, NY: Verso.Google Scholar
  5. Berman, A. (1992). The experience of the foreign: Culture and translation in romantic Germany (S. Heyvaert, Trans.). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, M. (2005). In defense of cliché: Radcliffe’s landscapes. In The gothic text (pp. 161–182). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, M. (2010). Non Giovanni: Mozart with Hegel. In “The tooth that nibbles at the soul”: Essays on music and poetry (pp. 251–298). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  8. Casanova, P. (2004). The world republic of letters (M. B. DeBevoise, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Chakrabarty, D. (2000). Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cheah, P. (2003). Spectral nationality: Passages of freedom from Kant to postcolonial literatures of liberation. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Clifford, J. (1998). Mixed feelings. In P. Cheah, and B. Robbins (Eds.), Cosmopolitics: Thinking and feeling beyond the nation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  12. Conrad, J. (1924). Lord Jim: A romance. New York, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  13. Damrosch, D. (2003). What is world literature? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Damrosch, D. (2009). How to read world literature. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  15. Ender, E. (2010). Homesickness in an expanding world: The case of the nineteenth-century lyric. In C. McDonald & S. Suleiman (Eds.), French global: A new approach to literary history (pp. 110–126). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Fichte, J. G. (1962). Grundlage der gesamten Wissenschaftslehre. In F. Medicus (Ed.), Ausgewählte Werke in sechs Bänden. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.Google Scholar
  17. Friedrich, H. (1964). Epochen der italienischen Lyrik. Frankfurt: Klostermann.Google Scholar
  18. Heidegger, M. (1972). Die Zeit des Weltbildes. In Holzwege (pp. 69–104). Frankfurt: Klostermann.Google Scholar
  19. Kincaid, J. (1988). A small place. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  20. Leibniz, G. W. (1969). Essais de théodicée. Paris: Garnier.Google Scholar
  21. Lennon, B. (2010). In Babels shadow: Multilingual literatures, monolingual states. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  22. Milton, J. (1836). Poetical works (Rev. H. J. Todd, Ed.). London: Rivington.Google Scholar
  23. Petrarca, F. (1960). Le rime (G. Carducci & S. Ferrari, Eds.). Florence: Sansoni.Google Scholar
  24. Prendergast, C. (Ed.). (2004). Debating world literature. New York, NY: Verso.Google Scholar
  25. Robbins, B. (1999). Feeling global: Internationalism in distress. New York, NY: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Safranski, R. (2005). How much globalization can we bear? (P. Camiller, Trans.). Malden, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  27. Simpson, D. (2002). Situatedness, or why we keep saying where were coming from. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Thoreau, H. D. (2008). Walden, civil disobedience and other writings (W. Rossi, Ed.). New York, NY: Norton.Google Scholar
  29. Walcott, D. (1992). Omeros. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  30. Wang, N. (2010). (Re)constructing Chinese “identit(ies)” in the age of globalization. In N. Wang (Ed.), Translated modernities literary and cultural perspectives on globalization and China (pp. 65–76). New York, NY: Legas.Google Scholar
  31. Wolfson, S. (2010). Romantic interactions: Social being and the turns of literary action. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Comparative LiteratureUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations