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Module Reading List

Reception, Transmission and Translation: The Global Circulation of Literature, 2020/21, Semester 1, 2
Dr Jacob Blakesley
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue


N.B. The section of the Brotherton Library most relevant to world/comparative literature is General Literature on Floor 4.

Core reading (Semester 1)

Apter, Emily, ‘Untranslatables: A World System’, New Literary History, 39.3 (2008) 581-98:

Cheah, Pheng, ‘World Against Globe: Toward a Normative Conception of World Literature’, New Literary History, 45.3 (2014) 581-98:

D’haen, Theo, César Dominguez and Mads Rosendahl Thomsen (eds), World literature : a reader (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013) [No e-book available; copy on Higher Demand in the Laidlaw Library]  

Suggestions for further reading:

Apter, Emily, The translation zone : a new comparative literature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006) [Argues that the importance of translation and its political uses should influence the way that we approach the study of literature.]

__________, Against world literature : on the politics of untranslatability (London: Verso, 2013) [Argues that the concept of ‘world literatures’ and the acknowledgement of the limits of translation is preferable to a single model of World Literature taught in English translation.]

Auerbach, Erich, Mimesis. The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. by Willard R. Trask (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003). Available through library catalogue as an e-book.

Barry, Peter, Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, 3rd edn (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009) [Contains useful discrete chapters on different theoretical approaches, with practical examples.]

Bassnett, Susan, Comparative literature : a critical introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993) [Discusses how translation, gender studies and postcolonialism affect the discipline.]

Beecroft, Alexander, An ecology of world literature : from antiquity to the present day (Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2015)

Bernheimer, Charles, Comparative literature in the age of multiculturalism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995) [Examines how political and technological developments in a post-Cold War world change the discipline.]

Bourdieu, Pierre, ‘The Field of Cultural Production, or: The Economic World Reversed’, trans. by Richard Nice, Poetics., 12 (1983), 311-56

______________ ‘The Market of Symbolic Goods’, trans. by Rupert Swyer, Poetics, 14 (1985), 13-44

______________The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field, trans. by Susan Emanuel (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996)

Casanova, Pascale, The world republic of letters, trans. by M. B. DeBevoise (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007) [orig. pub. 1999]. [Argues that Paris was the capital of global literature (its ‘Greenwich Meridian’) from the nineteenth century into the twentieth.]

Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, new edition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008)

Cheah, Pheng, What is a world? : on postcolonial literature as world literature (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016) [can be read online via library]

Connell, Liam and Nicky Marsh (eds), Literature and globalization : a reader (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2011) [Useful and interesting collection of recent essays that approach literature from a deliberately global and contemporary perspective.]

Culler, Jonathan, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) [orig. pub. 1997] [Concise and clear introduction to some of the key concepts and approaches to the study of literature.]

Damrosch, David, What is world literature? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003)[Very good introductory chapter – ‘Goethe Coins a Phrase’ – on how world literature transcends its original location, followed by chapters discussing different examples.]

_____________ (ed.), World literature in theory [electronic resource] (Chichester: Wiley, 2014) [A different reader of key critical texts on world literature; can be read online via the library website]

Damrosch, David, Natalie Melas and Mbongiseni Buthelezi (eds), The Princeton sourcebook in comparative literature : from the European Enlightenment to the global present (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009) [Chronological anthology of key essays and excerpts on comparative/world literature from 1797 to 2006: contains many of the key works in the field and is a good starting point for further reading.]

D’haen, Theo, David Damrosch and Djelal Kadir (eds), The Routledge Companion to World Literature (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2012) [Excellent introductory sourcebook and overview: contains fifty short critical essays on many aspects of the field and on most of its key works. Hard copy in library but can also be read on and off campus an e-book via the library catalogue.]

Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari, Kafka : toward a minor literature, trans. by Dana Polan (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986) [orig. pub. 1975]. [Posits Kafka as a writer of a marginalized people re-appropriating a ‘major’ language to his own ends.]

Etherington, Ben and Jarad Zimbler (eds), The Cambridge Companion to World Literature (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018).

Even-Zohar, Itamar, ‘The position of translated literature within the literary polysystem’, in Lawrence Venuti (ed.), Translation Studies Reader (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 162-168

Felski, Rita, Literature after feminism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)

Gifford, Henry, Comparative Literature (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969) [Concise and clear introduction to the discipline, although inevitably dated now.]

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von and J. P. Eckermann, ‘Conversations on World Literature’, in Damrosch, Melas and Buthelezi (eds), The Princeton sourcebook in comparative literature : from the European Enlightenment to the global present, pp. 17-25 Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Jay, Paul, Global matters : the transnational turn in literary studies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010)

Jefferson, Ann and David Robey (eds), Modern Literary Theory: A Comparative Introduction, 2nd edn (London: Batsford, 1986) [Contains useful discrete chapters on different approaches to the study of literature.]

Krishnaswamy, Revathi, ‘Toward World Literary Knowledges: Theory in the Age of Globalization’, Comparative literature., 62.4 (2010), 399-419 [Journal article analysing the scant attention paid to non-Western literary theory.]

McLuhan, Marshall and Quentin Fiore, War and peace in the global village (Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press, 2001) orig. pub. 1968 [On the political and cultural effects of technological developments.]

Moretti, Franco, ‘Conjectures on World Literature’, New Left Review, 1 (2000), 55-67 [Short polemical argument against Eurocentric bias; available for free on the journal’s website: ]

___________, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (London: Verso, 2005) [Also available as an e-book via the library catalogue.]

___________, Distant reading (London: Verso, 2013). [Collection of essays]

Munday, Jeremy (ed.), The Routledge companion to translation studies (London: Routledge, 2009) [Also available as an e-book via the library catalogue.]

Prendergast, Christopher (ed.), Debating world literature (London: Verso, 2004) [Collection of critical essays on the contemporary relevance of the concept.]

Said, Edward, Orientalism, reprint with new preface (London: Penguin, 2003); orig. pub. 1978

Sapiro, Gisèle, ‘Translation and the field of publishing. A commentary on Pierre Bourdieu's “A conservative revolution in publishing” from a translation perspective’, Translation studies., 1.2 (2008), 154–67

___________, ‘Globalization and cultural diversity in the book market: The case of translations in the US and in France’, Poetics, 38.4 (2010), 419–39

Saussy, Haun (ed.), Comparative literature in an age of globalization (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006)

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, Death of a discipline (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003) [Argues for a new conception of comparative literature that liberates it from a globalized English-language market-led model.]

Steiner, George, After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation, 3rd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); orig. pub. 1975

Thomsen, Mads Rosendahl, Mapping world literature : international canonization and transnational literatures (London: Continuum, 2010)

Walkowitz, Rebecca L., Born translated : the contemporary novel in an age of world literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015)

Wallerstein, Immanuel, World-systems analysis : an introduction (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004)

Weisstein, Ulrich, Comparative literature and literary theory : survey and introduction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973) [original German version 1968]

Westphal, Bertrand, Geocriticism : real and fictional spaces, trans. by Robert T. Tally, Jr (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

Young, Robert J. C., ‘World Literature and Postcolonialism’, in D’haen, Damrosch and Kadir (eds), The Routledge Companion to World Literature (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2012), pp. 213-22

Zhang, Yingjin (ed.), China in a polycentric world : essays in Chinese comparative literature (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998)


This list was last updated on 06/08/2020