Definitions of World Literature

UNIVERSAL LITERATURE

—“Literature  is  in  some  respects  an  irreplaceable  source  of  information  on certain aspects of the human mind, human society, human relations, and related matters.

—“As such, world literature in this sense is, or should be, of central importance not only for criticism and interpretation, but also  for  cognitive  and  affective  science,  anthropology,  and  other  fields.”

QUESTIONS ON UNIVERSAL IMPORTANCE OF LITERATURE

—What literary text that you have read engaged you in a personal way even if everything happening in that literary piece isn’t at all local or is alien to you?

—What was your take away value from a particular literature that has stayed with you until now, and you think you would always go back to?

—What literary text that you have studied gave you a better sense of the greater world outside your personal experience and orientation?  

TRANSNATIONAL LITERATURE

—“that  set  of  literary  works  that  have importance  across  traditions.

—“For  example,  the  Rāmāyana  has  passed  across  languages  and  cultures, assuming  significance  in  different  literary  traditions  –  not  only  the  various  language  traditions  of  India (comparable to the  various  national  traditions  of Europe),  but  non-Indian  traditions  (e.g.,  Indonesian) as well. 

—“As  such,  it is  a part of  world  literature in this  second sense. The  same  point  could  be  made  about Tales of the 1001 Nights or Hamlet.

GLOBAL LITERATURE

—“literature  that  is  the  product  of  intertraditional influence.

—“a  body  of  literature  that  represents  the convergence of different traditions.

—However, it does not represent spontaneous convergence.

—Rather, it is results from what one might call contact convergence.

QUESTIONS ON AESTHETIC STYLE AND NARRATIVE

—What narrative tradition does this text belong?

—What/where is the possible origin of this narrative tradition?

—Can you think of similar examples of literary works that you have read in this tradition?

—Does this tradition reflect a particular worldview?

—Does this worldview travel across cultures or does it apply only to a particular culture?

CONCEPTS IN CRITICAL THOUGHT ABOUT LITERATURE

—divergence guided by Hegemonic cultural practices

—identity-based  repudiation  of  global  standardization

—simplification  and  distortion of putatively indigenous traditions

—Q.LIT: How does a literary text reflect either one or more of the above tendencies?