Writing, Translation, Markets

Edited by Stefan Helgesson, Pieter Vermeulen

This volume engages critically with the recent and ongoing consolidation of "world literature" as a paradigm of study. On the basis of an extended, active, and ultimately more literary sense of what it means to institute world literature, it views processes of institutionalizationnot as limitations, but as challenges to understand how literature may simultaneously function as an enabling and exclusionary world of its own. It starts from the observation that literature is never simply a given, but is always performatively and materially instituted by translators, publishers, academies and academics, critics, and readers, as well as authors themselves. This volume therefore substantiates, refines, as well as interrogates current approaches to world literature, such as those developed by David Damrosch, Pascale Casanova, and Emily Apter. Sections focus on the poetics of writers themselves, market dynamics, postcolonial negotiations of discrete archives of literature, and translation, engaging a range of related disciplines. The chapters contribute to a fresh understanding of how singular literary works become inserted in transnational systems and, conversely, how transnational and institutional dimensions of literature are inflected in literary works. Focusing its methodological and theoretical inquiries on a broad archive of texts spanning the triangle Europe-Latin America-Africa, the volume unsettles North America as the self-evident vantage of recent world literature debates. Because of the volume’s focus on dialogues between world literature and fields such as postcolonial studies, translation studies, book history, and transnational studies, it will be of interest to scholars and students in a range of areas.

About the Editors

Stefan Helgesson is Professor of English at Stockholm University. He is the author of Writing in Crisis: Ethics and History in Gordimer, Ndebele and Coetzee (2004) and Transnationalism in Southern African Literature (2009), and the editor of Literary History: Towards a Global Perspective, vol. 4 (2006).

Pieter Vermeulen is Assistant Professor of American Literature at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He is the author of Romanticism after the Holocaust (2010) and Contemporary Literature and the End of the Novel: Creature, Affect, Form (2015).