Globalizing Literary History

John Neubauer

Abstract


In the last decades, national and transnational literary histories have continued to take different approaches. The typical new national literary histories have discarded the teleology of grand narratives by chopping up the chronological line into individual essays on specific subjects, each attached to a single date. They compensate for the temporal disintegration with a cultural broadening of literature’s scope and occasional international references. The transnational counter trend has been producing regional histories (of Latin America, East-Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula and Scandinavia), a history of literature in the European languages sponsored by the ICLA, and schemes for global approaches. Moving towards globalization poses the problem of coordinating vast and divergent empirical information. Two suggestions may help moving towards global perspectives: 1) replace the traditional period concepts with landmarks based on the introduction of new writing technologies, and 2) conceive of literary and cultural history as a sequence of adaptations. The latter may offer opportunities to interlink culture and biology.

Keywords


literary history; regionalization; globalization; adaptation

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/IL.2013.18.1.01

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