WiSe 17/18: S-Lit. Stud.: Periods-Genres-Concepts II: Theories of World Literature
Ever since Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s famous prediction of a coming era of world literature, this term has been a staple of public intellectual debate and literary discussion. For something like ... read more
Ever since Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s famous prediction of a coming era of world literature, this term has been a staple of public intellectual debate and literary discussion. For something like 200 years, it has been a concept upheld, criticized, re-defined and developed in multi-faceted ways. During the last decade, debates on world literature have received new impulses from postmodernist and postcolonial perspectives, especially with regard to the economic developments known as “globalization”.
In this course, we will look at a number of competing usages and definitions of the concept of world literature, exploring the theoretical basis on which scholars define the term: What criteria are used to include (or exclude) literary works into (from) world literature? What are the aesthetic, pedagogic as well as political ideals, intentions and interests that underwrite their conceptualizations?
This course aims at identifying historical developments and current trends in the debate about world literature. It advances the students’ theoretical acumen and their critical awareness of the problems a seemingly commonplace term like World Literature might imply.