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Literary and Cultural Circulation

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Edited By José Luís Jobim

An important question concerning literary studies is the circulation of literary works beyond their place of origin. Many other aspects must also be taken into consideration, such as the asymmetric positioning of authors and their work in international circulation, which is conditioned by the relative position of languages and cultures in the global market. This volume focuses on literary and cultural circulation and includes essays that explore this topic through case studies, analysing works and authors from diverse literatures and cultures, and discussions of the theoretical issues surrounding circulation and all that it entails: temporality, place, method, material objects and concepts.

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3 Circulation as Constitutive Principle (Fabio Akcelrud Durão)

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Fabio Akcelrud Durão 3 Circulation as Constitutive Principle I Although related, reception and circulation are quite distinct notions in literary studies. What they have in common is that both reveal a new textual dimension that at the very least complements, but often actually challenges the usual notion of literary works as autonomous, self-contained entities. The way this operates in reception aesthetics is well known. In its different currents it argues, for example, that any artefact will always be read on the basis of expectations that shape it even before its first word has been deciphered (Hans Robert Jauss); or that no literary object whatsoever can avoid structural lacunae that must be filled in by the attentive reader (Wolfgang Iser); or even that an implicit agreement about what constitutes literature will always underlie comprehension within a given interpretative community (Stanley Fish). In order to avoid a common misconception, it is worth bearing in mind that, from this theoretical perspective, reception plays an active role in the formation of meaning; thus, it is not correct to assume that a given novel was first received in Europe and then in Brazil, as if it contained a nucleus of meaning, and that reading the work merely complemented this, as a kind of dispensable addition. Perhaps what is most thought-provoking about theories of reception, then, is the possibility of mediating the act of reading, an act that is necessarily posterior to that of composition and supposedly contingent upon what is deemed to be the...

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