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Politics of Cross-Cultural Reading

Tagore, Ben Jelloun and Fo in English


Marion Dalvai

The last two decades have witnessed an upsurge in scholarship on world literature. In most of this work world literature is understood as a concept in intellectual history, as a cultural system or as a curriculum to be taught. Grounded in three empirical case studies, this book complements such approaches by asking what world literature in English is or has been and what role authoritative readers (translators, editors, publishers, academics and literary critics) play in constituting it as a field for others.
The ambivalent position of English as a roadblock to international visibility and as a necessary intermediary for other literary languages justifies a particular attention to what is presented as world literature in English. By emphasizing the constitutive function of cross-cultural reading, the book encourages reflection on the discrepancy between what is actually read as world literature and what might potentially be read in this way.
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A Note on Language


Readers may notice a discrepancy in the spelling of the terms world literature and Weltliteratur in this book. I do not use capital letters to distinguish the paradigm and the teaching practice of world literature and opt for italics when using the German term. When quoting other scholars I reproduce their preferred way of spelling.

I transcribe Bengali words phonetically, using the most commonly accepted (usually Sanskritized) forms. Arabic words are also transcribed phonetically.

Unless otherwise indicated, all translations are mine. ← ix | x →← x | 1 →

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