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Contextualizing World Literature


Jean Bessière and Gerald Gillespie

This book revisits the notion of World Literature and its applications in Comparative Literature. It suggests the notion not as a means to sift out international paradigms for reading literatures, but as a set of guidelines for the construction of interlocking and/or reciprocally illuminating multilingual literary clusters. These ensembles are of very diverse shapes: the world, a region, a country, a language block, a network of cross-cultural «interferences» – while the so-called minor literatures invite to question the use of these ensembles. Within this frame, fourteen essays respond to the basic paradox of World Literature: how may specific methodological and critical outlooks allow expression of the universal? The answers to this question can be arranged in three groups: 1. Recognition of the need to break loose from European or Western critical perspectives; 2. Presentation of macro- and microcosmic dimensions connectedness and its processes; 3. Definitions of the methodological efforts and hermeneutic orientations to be applied.
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Henry James à la quête des universaux




Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay

Constantius. – I like extremely the idea of Mordecai believing, without ground of belief, that if he only waits, a young man on whom nature and society have centered all their gifts will come to him and receive from his hands the precious vessel of his hopes. It is romantic, but it is not vulgar romance ; it is finely romantic. And there is something very fine in the author’s own feeling about Deronda.

Henry James, « Daniel Deronda : A Conversation », THE NATION.

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