World Republic of Letters

ISBN-10: 0674010213
ISBN-13: 9780674010215
Edition: 2004 (Annotated)
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $27.50
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 4/30/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 440
Size: 9.00" wide x 6.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.320
Language: English

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.

Pascale Casanova is an associated researcher at the Center for Research in Arts and Language and a literary critic in Paris. She is the author of Beckett the Abstractor (Paris, 1997), winner of the Grand Prix de l�e(tm)Essai de la Société des Gens de Lettres.

Preface to the English-Language Edition
Introduction: The Figure in the Carpet
The Literary World
Principles of a World History of Literature
The Bourse of Literary Values Literature, Nation, and Politics
The Invention of Literature How to ""Devour"" Latin
The Battle over French
The Cult of Language
The Empire of French
The Herderian Revolution
World Literary Space Roads to Freedom
The Greenwich Meridian of Literature
Literary Nationalism National versus Inte

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