[New publication] New issue of the Journal of World Literature: volume 2, issue 4, 2017


Life in a Dead Language
Nelson, Matthew, Journal of World Literature, 2, 411-432 (2017), DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/24056480-00204004

Abstract: Literature written in Sanskrit after the onset of British colonialism is sorely neglected. Modern Sanskrit, as it is often called, suffers from the bad image of being written in a dead language. Many of its writers would disagree with that image, but they would know that they are disagreeing. That defensiveness has come to shape their writing, a fact which I argue arises in response to the status of their work as an ultraminor literature, a status which was born with the formation of the “world literature” field and its elevation/absorption of classical Sanskrit at the expense of the latter’s perceived potential for contemporaneity.

The Archeology of Minor Literature
Tuckerová, Veronika, Journal of World Literature, 2, 433-453 (2017), DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/24056480-00204007

Abstract: This article takes a “genealogical” approach to the concept of minor literature. It argues that the concept of minor literature originated with the idea of “triple ghetto” that emerged in the Prague Czech-German-Jewish environment and was applied to explain the work of Kafka and his fellow Prague writers. Minor literature is the most famous application of the “triple ghetto” concept. A close reconsideration of Kafka’s German/Czech/Jewish Prague reveals interesting relations among several “small,” “minor” and “ultraminor” literatures, relationships that Deleuze and Guattari overlooked. The relationships between various literary entities in Prague extend beyond the binary positioning of “minor” and “major” inherent in the concept of minor literature. In addition to Kafka’s relationship to German literature, we need to consider Kafka’s relationship to the “small” Czech literature, the marginal “ultraminor” German and German Jewish and Czech Jewish literatures of his times, and perhaps most interestingly, to writers who were equally at home in German and Czech.

Yoko Tawada’s Kafka Kaikoku: Modernity, Sacrifice, and World Literature

Rotaru, Arina, Journal of World Literature, 2, 454-474 (2017), DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/24056480-00204005

Abstract: Despite the vast body of scholarship on Yoko Tawada, an author who writes in both German and Japanese, her work has not been examined in light of the question of modernity. Through a close reading of her play Kafka Kaikoku and an examination of recent world literary theories, this paper situates Tawada’s work in relation to a complicated nexus that features as protagonists two contemporaneous authors, Franz Kafka and Izumi Kyōka, engaging with their migrations between pre-modern and modern pasts. How does this complicated temporal dimension re-imagine putative divisions between East and West in relation to modernity and modernities, and how does that affect our understanding of world literature? My paper proposes the notion of “interlaced modernities” to address these questions and reflects on its implications for world literature.

World Literature, Diplomacy, and War
Hubert, Rosario, Journal of World Literature, 2, 475-487 (2017), DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/24056480-00204003

Abstract: The Belgian poet Henri Michaux (1899–1984) visited Argentina in 1936 as guest of honor of the first South American PEN CLUB Congress. After publishing his impressions of the country in 1938 in an essay that the Argentinean officials considered utterly “undiplomatic” he was denied permission to return in 1939. This article explores the double function of diplomacy as institutional practice and rhetorical gesture by situating Michaux’s essay within a network of interwar textualities, namely, nationalist narratives of the South American landscape and emerging protocols of ethnographic discourse. This approach highlights international channels of circulation of literary texts and imaginaries beyond academia and the market that have not been significantly explored in debates on world literature in the Latin American context.

Semi-Peripheral Dynamics
Schwartz, Cecilia, Journal of World Literature, 2, 488-511 (2017), DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/24056480-00204006

Abstract: This article aims to contribute to the understanding of the transnational dimension of Italian literature and overlooked dynamics in the literary semi-periphery. Focusing on Italian fiction in Sweden, a panoramic view of this specific semi-peripheral relation is outlined and compared to Danish and English experiences. I will then test the hypothesis that the centrality-peripherality dichotomy remains relevant to the relations of semi-peripheral literatures, but that it depends on “the modality of a specific inclusion within a system” (WReC 123). The main concern is to determine whether semi-peripheral literatures include each other as central or peripheral. More specifically, the study examines the inclusion strategies of three Swedish publishers specialized in Italian literature. Following Venuti, the inclusion modalities which are related to the publisher are visible in the selection as well as in the publisher’s epitext and peritext. These three aspects are therefore analysed with regard to peripheralization and centralization.

Anthologizing Arabic Literature: The Longman Anthology and the Problems of World Literature

Khalifah, Omar, Journal of World Literature, 2, 512-526 (2017), DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/24056480-00204001

Abstract: This paper examines the ways in which Arabic literature has been introduced into world literature anthologies. Taking The Longman Anthology of World Literature as a case study, the paper questions the politics of the inclusions and exclusions of Arabic literature in the anthology. Pertinent to the discussion is to ponder the nature of Arabic literature that “makes it” into the anthology. In addition, the paper will demonstrate how the anthology in fact obscures, rather than illuminates, major historical trajectories of Arabic literature. The complexity of Arabic literature, its highly self-reflexive texts, and its internal developments throughout history beg for a different approach that, I argue, this world literature anthology is lacking. Equally significant, The Longman recycles several common orientalist clichés about Arabic literature, the most important of which is that there is no Arabic literature worthy of inclusion in the three volumes of the anthology spanning the thirteenth-nineteenth centuries. As for the pieces that are included, the paper will reflect on the size and space they are offered, arguing that these are not arbitrary choices, but rather indicative of how a non-Western literary tradition is appropriated into a world literature anthology.

Link to the website: http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/24056480/2/4