Alexander Beecroft The role played by East Asian literature in contemporary discussions of world literature can be contentious at the best of times; models developed in European contexts and/or for the postcolonial moment in the non-Western world may or may not apply as effectively in the particular cultural and political environment represented by East Asia and especially by the ongoing and robust influence of earlier literary traditions. Thus, for example, the work of Franco Moretti on the diffusion of the novel from what he sees as its Anglo-French heartland via the combination of European form and local content has been criticized as insufficiently attentive to the significance of existing novelistic forms in Japan and in China.1 Similarly, the work of Pascale Casanova on the république mondiale des lettres goes as far as to suggest that Asia and Africa as a whole were unable to enter into literature per se until the era of decolonization following the Second World War (and then only precariously).2 Theories of world literature, then, are in fact frequently theories of European literature and only secondarily of the ways non-European literatures find themselves integrated into the European world system, leaving little room to discuss, for
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Oct 16, 2010
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