Studies in World Literature
Herausgeber: Chris Ringrose and Janet Wilson
The book series Studies in World Literature (SWL) is devoted to the analysis—in both singular and comparative terms—of global literature, and the multiple, sometimes contradictory, tendencies it accommodates. Its field of enquiry is the ‘new’ world literature, a category currently emerging through multiple changes from the old Romantic concept of Weltliteratur, attuned to the challenges posed by postcolonialism and multiculturalism, the increasing globalisation of literature (but also its reverse trend, regionalisation), and the diversification of the market place. Studies in World Literature aims to be a dynamic response to the greater academic purchase this concept is acquiring; it will encourage and promote research which celebrates and critically assesses a phenomenon that can be understood, as Pheng Cheah points out, as the ‘literature of the world—imaginings and stories [...] that track and account for contemporary globalization as well as older historical narratives of worldhood’.
World Literature is a body of work that can be brought into dialogue with postcolonial writing through scrutiny of how it is written, read, circulated, and received transnationally, and considered in terms of the translation it requires to facilitate integration within the contemporary circuit of global cultural capital. There is also a need to examine its inherent contradictions and dependence on a hegemonic (often English-centred) literary and critical discourse.
The series seeks to address these tensions, and will consequently welcome:
- publications which debate such matters theoretically (including definitions of what counts as ‘world literature’ and the place of postcolonial literary production within this larger category);
- comparative studies between texts and genres from different countries and cultures under common headings or concepts such as memory, ethics, and human rights.
Volumes on national literatures, when these are set in a world/comparative or generic context, will also be considered, and the series will include discussions of other complementary aspects of discourse, narratology, and media (such as comparisons between literature and film, journalism, political discourse, the literary and the poetic). While writing by ‘canonical’ authors will be covered, the series will additionally bring to light and propose wider cultural and intellectual genealogies for ‘minor’ or occluded writers, promoting ways in which they can be read in terms of World Literature. Finally, although being inevitably oriented towards the anglophone study and translation of World Literature, the series will pay attention to the inherent problems that this universalist, hegemonic tendency raises for a linguistically-complex and polyglot globe; consideration will be given to questions raised by translation, aesthetics, and the challenges of distribution and reception in the global market place.
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