Through Other Continents: American Literature across Deep Time

Through Other Continents: American Literature across Deep Time

by Wai Chee Dimock
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691114498

ISBN-13: 9780691114491

Pub. Date: 10/02/2006

Publisher: Princeton University Press

What we call American literature is quite often a shorthand, a simplified name for an extended tangle of relations." This is the argument of Through Other Continents, Wai Chee Dimock's sustained effort to read American literature as a subset of world literature.

Inspired by an unorthodox archive--ranging from epic traditions in Akkadian and Sanskrit to

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Overview

What we call American literature is quite often a shorthand, a simplified name for an extended tangle of relations." This is the argument of Through Other Continents, Wai Chee Dimock's sustained effort to read American literature as a subset of world literature.

Inspired by an unorthodox archive--ranging from epic traditions in Akkadian and Sanskrit to folk art, paintings by Veronese and Tiepolo, and the music of the Grateful Dead--Dimock constructs a long history of the world, a history she calls "deep time." The civilizations of Mesopotamia, India, Egypt, China, and West Africa, as well as Europe, leave their mark on American literature, which looks dramatically different when it is removed from a strictly national or English-language context. Key authors such as Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Ezra Pound, Robert Lowell, Gary Snyder, Leslie Silko, Gloria Naylor, and Gerald Vizenor are transformed in this light. Emerson emerges as a translator of Islamic culture; Henry James's novels become long-distance kin to Gilgamesh; and Black English loses its ungrammaticalness when reclassified as a creole tongue, meshing the input from Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Throughout, Dimock contends that American literature is answerable not to the nation-state, but to the human species as a whole, and that it looks dramatically different when removed from a strictly national or English-language context.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691114491
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/02/2006
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction

Planet as Duration and Extension 1

Chapter One: Global Civil Society: Thoreau on Three Continents 7

Chapter Two: World Religions: Emerson, Hafiz, Christianity, Islam 23

Chapter Three: The Planetary Dead: Margaret Fuller, Ancient Egypt, Italian Revolution 52

Chapter Four: Genre as World System: Epic, Novel, Henry James 73

Chapter Five: Transnational Beauty: Aesthetics and Treason, Kant and Pound 107

Chapter Six: Nonstandard Time: Robert Lowell, Latin Translations, Vietnam War 123

Chapter Seven: African, Caribbean, American: Black English as Creole Tongue 142

Chapter Eight: Ecology across the Pacific: Coyote in Sanskrit, Monkey in Chinese 166

Notes 197

Index 237

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