Global Literature



9 Questions

What is world literature?

What is the double process that a work must go through to enter into world literature?

What drove the growth of world literature?

What led to the revival of the study of comparative and world literature in the United States?

What led to efforts to expand the study of world literature?

What type of works thrive as world literature?

What is the critique of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak regarding the study of world literature in translation?

What is the current state of the field of world literature?

What kind of literature is understood to be encompassed by world literature?


Circulation of Literature beyond its Country of Origin:

  • World literature refers to the total of the world's national literature and the circulation of works into the wider world beyond their country of origin.
  • A work enters into world literature by a double process: first, by being read as literature; second, by circulating out into a broader world beyond its linguistic and cultural point of origin.
  • World literature is driven by a new world market in literature, as well as developments in print culture.
  • The study of comparative and world literature was revived in the United States in the postwar era, with a focus on the Greek and Roman classics and the literature of major, modern Western-European powers.
  • The end of the Cold War, the growing globalization of the world economy, and new waves of immigration led to several efforts to expand the study of world literature.
  • The explosive growth in the range of cultures studied under the rubric of world literature has inspired a variety of theoretical attempts to define the field and to propose effective modes of research and teaching.
  • Works that thrive as world literature are ones that work well and even gain meaning through translation.
  • Critics such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak argue that too often the study of world literature in translation smooths out both the linguistic richness of the original and the political force a work can have in its original context.
  • World literature series are now being published in China and Estonia, and a new Institute for World Literature is offering month-long summer sessions on theory and pedagogy.
  • World literature is understood to encompass classical works from all periods, including contemporary literature that is written for a global audience.
  • The field of world literature continues to generate debate among scholars and critics.
  • Valuable collections of essays and individual studies are available for the study of the history of world literature and the current debates.


"Think you know about the circulation of literature beyond its country of origin? Test your knowledge with our quiz! Explore the history, theories, and controversies surrounding world literature as it has evolved into a global phenomenon. Challenge yourself to identify key concepts and authors in this dynamic field. Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of translation and print culture on the dissemination of literature worldwide. Don't miss out on the opportunity to engage with this fascinating topic - take the quiz now!"

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