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Resisting the Cosmopolitan Novel?: World Literature at Large
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Film and Literature. (Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies)
2018 (English)In: Archives of Resistance : Cosmopolitanism, Memory and World Literature: Three-day International ConferenceUniversity of Leeds, June 20-22 2018, 2018Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

If the cosmopolitan mindset favours the “individual’s freedom from received roles and identities” over “the belief that nations and local cultures have value to their members over and above a universal community of citizens” (Gillman, p. 49f), what would the cosmopolitan novel favour? And where is the place for a cosmopolitan novel in world literature today?

Revisiting the current definitions of world literature that presuppose that “books begin in one place and then move out to other places” (Walkowitz, p. 573), this paper considers two novels that both thematise and challenge these definitions and presuppositions of literary migration. The publication and translation strategy of South African J. M Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year (2007) problematizes the idea of the origin and subsequent dispersion of the literary work. In Brazilian Chico Buarque’s Budapest (2003, Eng. tr. 2005), the national and cultural origin of the literary work itself is called into question through the illusive identity of the protagonist as well as the migratory setting of the narrative. Hence, it may be argued that these two novels exemplify the cosmopolitan novel while resisting being defined as world literature.

At the same time, there are features in both novels that may be interpreted as questioning cosmopolitanism. In Budapest, for example, the freedom of travel and linguistic appropriation that the narrator protagonist enjoys also illustrate the privileges of the cosmopolitan citizen and the inequality between different types of migrants in the age of globalization.

In short, the aim of the paper is to explore literary cosmopolitanism and world literature through the two novels, in order to gauge the tension between these concepts and consider what this tension may tell us about literature in and about migration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Comparative literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-79254OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-79254DiVA, id: diva2:1272025
Conference
Archives of Resistance : Cosmopolitanism, Memory and World Literature : Three-day International ConferenceUniversity of Leeds, June 20-22 2018
Available from: 2018-12-18 Created: 2018-12-18 Last updated: 2019-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Posti, Piia K.

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf