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Across Literary and Linguistic Diversities

Essays on Comparative Literature

Edited By Goethe Society of India, Madhu Sahni and Mazumdar Shaswati

Comparative literary studies face new challenges today in a world marked by the migration of people, languages, ideas and texts across diverse and increasingly porous borders. The field is restricted by conventional notions of comparativism born in the era of nationalism and colonialism. However, scholars are now provoked to rethink these notions as a result of the social, economic and political forces that drive the contemporary world, which simultaneously draw it into an ever tighter global network and create new, or reassert persisting, lines of division.
What are the conceptual and methodological questions that must engage our attention if comparativism, as recent debates suggest, has to revive its critical potential and chart afresh the future of literary studies? The essays in this volume attempt to rethink comparison in this context through theoretical reflections and concrete comparative analyses. They investigate similarities and differences, connections and references, across diverse literary and linguistic cultures in Indian, German and other European literatures.
This volume is the 2014 Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India.
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World literary spacing: Contemporary verse novels across the Anglosphere

Extract

← 44 | 45 → DIRK WIEMANN

Seit der Veröffentlichung von Vikram Seths The Golden Gate (1986) und Derek Walcotts Omeros (1990) hat der totgesagte Versroman in der englischsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur weltweit eine auffällige Konjunktur. Ebenso auffällig ist jedoch, dass aktuelle Debatten um Weltliteratur diese Entwicklung bislang nicht zur Kenntnis genommen haben. Der vorliegende Aufsatz versucht zunächst, das Genre des Versromans formal als eine narrative Gattung zu beschreiben, die anders als die dominanten Prosaformen, insbesondere der Roman, die Segmentivität des Textes betont, ohne jedoch auf erzählerische Sequenzierung zu verzichten. Als Resultat entsteht eine spezifisch ‚lückenhafte‘ Textstruktur, die die Lektüre in besonderem Maße als Aushandlung von Leerstellen markiert. Hiervon ausgehend stellt sich die Frage, welche repräsentativen Potenziale eine solche Gattung nicht zuletzt im Hinblick auf die Artikulation einer neuartigen Auffassung von Welthaftigkeit aufweist, die in gegenwärtigen Konzeptionen von Weltliteratur nicht mehr als Globalität, sondern als Planetarität theoretisiert wird.

As a discipline, Comparative Literature has traditionally and well into the 1980s operated on the assumption of an isomorphic relation between languages, literatures and nations. It has thereby contributed to the consolidation of the notion of national literatures, whose principal commensurability was ensured by the mostly implicit and unreflected category of literature itself. However, in the wake of the current ‘transnational turn in literary studies’1 and the concomitant redeployment of the Goethean term of Weltliteratur, this fixation on national literatures appears increasingly as a severe limitation. According to Emily Apter,...

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