The World Republic of Letters

The World Republic of Letters

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The World Republic of Letters

The "world of letters" has always seemed a matter more of metaphor than of global reality. In this book, Pascale Casanova shows us the state of world literature behind the stylistic refinements--a world of letters relatively independent from economic and political realms, and in which language systems, aesthetic orders, and genres struggle for dominance. Rejecting facile talk of globalization, with its suggestion of a happy literary "melting pot," Casanova exposes an emerging regime of inequality in the world of letters, where minor languages and literatures are subject to the invisible but implacable violence of their dominant counterparts.

Inspired by the writings of Fernand Braudel and Pierre Bourdieu, this ambitious book develops the first systematic model for understanding the production, circulation, and valuing of literature worldwide. Casanova proposes a baseline from which we might measure the newness and modernity of the world of letters--the literary equivalent of the meridian at Greenwich. She argues for the importance of literary capital and its role in giving value and legitimacy to nations in their incessant struggle for international power. Within her overarching theory, Casanova locates three main periods in the genesis of world literature--Latin, French, and German--and closely examines three towering figures in the world republic of letters--Kafka, Joyce, and Faulkner. Her work provides a rich and surprising view of the political struggles of our modern world--one framed by sites of publication, circulation, translation, and efforts at literary annexation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674010215
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/15/2007
Series: Convergences: Inventories of the Present Series , #1
Edition description: ANN
Pages: 440
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.06(d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the English-Language Edition

Introduction: The Figure in the Carpet


1. Principles of a World History of Literature

The Bourse of Literary Values

Literature, Nation, and Politics

2. The Invention of Literature

How to "Devour" Latin

The Battle over French

The Cult of Language

The Empire of French

The Herderian Revolution

3. World Literary Space

Roads to Freedom

The Greenwich Meridian of Literature

Literary Nationalism

National versus International Writers

Forms of Literary Domination

4. The Fabric of the Universal

The Capital and Its Double

Translation as Littérarisation

Language Games

The Importance of Being Universal


Ibsen in England and in France

5. From Literary Internationalism to Commercial Globalization?


6. The Small Literatures

Literary Destitution

Political Dependencies

National Aesthetics

Kafka and the Connection with Politics

7. The Assimilated

Naipaul: The Need to Conform

Michaux: What Is a Foreigner?

Cioran: On the Inconvenience of Being Born in Romania

Ramuz: The Impossible Assimilation

8. The Rebels

Literary Uses of the People

National Tales, Legends, Poetry, and Theater

Legacy Hunting

The Importation of Texts

The Creation of Capitals

The International of Small Nations

9. The Tragedy of Translated Men

Thieves of Fire

Translated from the Night

Comings and Goings

Kafka: Translated from Yiddish

Creators of Languages

Literary Uses of the Oral Language

Andrade: The Anti-Camões

Swiss Creoleness

10. The Irish Paradigm

Yeats: The Invention of Tradition

The Gaelic League: Recreation of a National Language

Synge: The Written Oral Language

O'Casey: The Realist Opposition

Shaw: Assimilation in London

Joyce and Beckett: Autonomy

Genesis and Structure of a Literary Space

11. The Revolutionaries

Dante and the Irish

The Joycean Family

The Faulknerian Revolution

Toward the Invention of Literary Languages

Conclusion: The World and the Literary Trousers



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