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An Ecology of World Literature: From Antiquity to the Present Day
     

An Ecology of World Literature: From Antiquity to the Present Day

by Alexander Beecroft
 

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What constitutes a nation’s literature? How do literatures of different countries interact with one another? In this groundbreaking study, Alexander Beecroft develops a new way of thinking about world literature. Drawing on a series of examples and case studies, the book ranges from ancient epic to the contemporary fiction of Roberto Bolaño and Amitav

Overview

What constitutes a nation’s literature? How do literatures of different countries interact with one another? In this groundbreaking study, Alexander Beecroft develops a new way of thinking about world literature. Drawing on a series of examples and case studies, the book ranges from ancient epic to the contemporary fiction of Roberto Bolaño and Amitav Ghosh.

Moving across literary ecologies of varying sizes, from small societies to the planet as a whole, the environments in which literary texts are produced and circulated, An Ecology of World Literature places in dialogue scholarly perspectives on ancient and modern, western and non-western texts, navigating literary study into new and uncharted territory.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Extraordinary in its sweep across time and space, Alexander Beecroft’s new book insightfully distinguishes among various groupings or ‘ecologies’ of world literature. Admirably lucid, engaging, and ambitious, it encompasses literary cultures at every scale, from the most local to the national and global. It is sure to help energize comparative literary studies for years to come.”
—Jahan Ramazani, author of A Transnational Poetics

“A profound undertaking … The journey through the six ecologies Beecroft lays out is altogether fascinating and staggering in breadth and depth.”
—Alexa Firat, Journal of the Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World

“Beecroft′s approach provides a useful means of comparing literatures across time and language and dares to speculate what might be in store for the future. Well-written and clearly argued.″
Library Journal

“Approaches the classification of world literature from a truly distinctive standpoint … Beecroft′s ability to negotiate Eastern and Western literatures while avoiding the dichotomy so common to discussing these traditions is astonishing in scope and expertise.”
Choice

Library Journal
03/01/2015
Beecroft (classics & comparative literature, Univ. of South Carolina; Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China) sets out to "facilitate the comparative study of the interactions between literatures and their environments." Taking into consideration such parameters as language, politics, economics, and technologies of distribution, Beecroft borrows from the field of ecology, grouping his study results into six literary ecologies: epichoric (pertaining to a specific area), panchoric (texts spanning across a range of epichoric communities), cosmopolitan, vernacular, national, and global literatures. While the author frequently refers readers to his previous articles and book on the subject for additional explanation, he does briefly explain each ecology before providing case studies to support his argument. Beecroft also compares and contrasts his ecologies and shows how each has the potential to evolve over time and be encompassed into an even broader framework. For example, the local oral literature of the epichoric ecology may be taken up into a more regional panchoric ecology. VERDICT Beecroft's approach provides a useful means of comparing literatures across time and language and dares to speculate what might be in store for the future. Well-written and clearly argued, this is a firmly academic book not intended for the general reader.—Stefanie Hollmichel, Univ. of St. Thomas Law Lib., Minneapolis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781781685730
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
01/06/2015
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
740,226
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Alexander Beecroft is an Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina. He has published extensively on topics ranging from authorship in ancient Greece and China to theories of world literature, from the emergence of literary history as a discipline in the nineteenth century to the origins of Canadian literature. His first book, Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China, was published by Cambridge University Press.

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