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Reading the Life of Aḥīqar
Daniel L. Selden

For Sharon Kinoshita A scribe who knows no Sumerian, what kind of scribe is he? – Akkadian Proverb What role does distributed authorship play – or, more accurately, what role should it play – in the emergent field of ‘world literature’? 1 Roy Ascott, Britain's ‘visionary

in Bestsellers and masterpieces
Mikhail Bakhtin's dissertation defence as real event, as high drama and as academic comedy'
Nikolai Pan'kov

signified becoming reconciled with an earlier injustice, and this Bakhtin had manifestly not forgotten. On 15 November 1946 the Academic Council of the USSR Academy of Sciences' Institute of World Literature convened for Bakhtin's defence o f his Candidate's dissertation 'F. Rabelais in the history of realism'. This was far from the first and far from the last time the Council had met, and it met as it usually did on the days o f traditional routine dissertation defences. Before long, however, it became clear that the proceedings were not following the usual pattern, for

in Bakhtin and Cultural Theory
Circulating Baldwin in Contemporary Europe
Remo Verdickt

For several years now, James Baldwin’s life, portrait, and work have enjoyed a central place in the public eye. Although social and audiovisual media have made significant contributions to Baldwin’s return to the cultural and political limelight, the circulation of his published writings remains a vital part of the author’s ubiquity. Moreover, since Baldwin’s omnipresence in bookstores transcends an American or even Anglophone context, this international and multilingual circulation contributes to Baldwin’s world literary standing, as befits the self-described “transatlantic commuter.” This article moves beyond the customary approach to Baldwin’s published success by tracing presently circulating European translations of his work. The article examines the historical developments in Baldwin’s European circulation-through-translation from the time of his death (1987) up until the present, including brief discussions of the French, Italian, and West German translations from the 1960s onward. Of special interest are the pioneering and dominant roles that French and Italian publishers have played since the late 1990s, and the acceleration in circulation that took place across the continent in the wake of the films I Am Not Your Negro and If Beale Street Could Talk. The article concludes with a few remarks on the translation strategies of several key publishers in France, Italy, Germany, and Romania.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Nineteenth-century literary culture and the southern settler colonies

This collection brings together for the first time literary studies of British colonies in nineteenth-century Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Drawing on hemispheric studies, Indigenous studies, and southern theory to decentre British and other European metropoles, the collection offers a latitudinal challenge to national paradigms and traditional literary periodisations and canons by proposing a new literary history of the region that is predicated less on metropolitan turning points and more on southern cultural perspectives in multiple regional centres from Cape Town to Dunedin. With a focus on southern orientations, southern audiences, and southern modes of addressivity, Worlding the south foregrounds marginal, minor, and neglected writers and texts across a hemispheric complex of southern oceans and terrains. Drawing on an ontological tradition that tests the dominance of networked theories of globalisation, the collection also asks how we can better understand the dialectical relationship between the ‘real’ world in which a literary text or art object exists and the symbolic or conceptual world it shows or creates. By examining the literary processes of ‘worlding’, it demonstrates how art objects make legible homogenising imperial and colonial narratives, inequalities of linguistic power, textual and material violence, and literary and cultural resistance. With contributions from leading scholars in nineteenth-century literary and cultural studies, the collection revises literary histories of the ‘British world’ by arguing for the distinctiveness of settler colonialism in the southern hemisphere, and by incorporating Indigenous, diasporic, settler, and other southern perspectives.

Liberalism and liberalisation in the niche of nature, culture, and technology
Regenia Gagnier

Global processes, local niches The study of world literature is rapidly growing in contested terrains: world literature as the best; as bearer of universal values; as circulating in translation/remediation; in relation to power and domination (in relation to postcolonial studies, for example); in relation to globalisation; in relation to commodification. Central to current debates about the value of world literature is the relation of world, a place or lifeworld that we inhabit, to globalisation, a process

in Interventions
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At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.

The book acquires a new resonance in the intellectual context which they played a part in creating, for they were distinguished, then as now, by their insistence on placing Bakhtin in a larger intellectual world and probing his weaknesses. Rather than take Bakhtin's worship of the public festive culture at face value, Wills showed that concepts of publicity and privacy were shaped by the facts of gender difference, such that women writers might find gestures towards privacy, in form and content, more politically compelling than the simple act of going public. David Shepherd's discussion of Bakhtin and theories of reading was one of the first to put Bakhtin where he belongs: in the middle of an ongoing intellectual debate, where at best he might assume the role of primus, or even secondus inter pares. The final two chapters of the book focus on the status of the body and embodiment in Bakhtin, a strikingly proleptic theme in 1989, but here treated with a care and shrewdness usually missing from analyses on this topic. The thesis that Bakhtin's work consists of a sociological outside and a philosophical or theological inside is one such forcing apart. It reduces the ambiguities by insisting that the philosophical meaning of each term (dialogism, responsibility, chronotope) is the real one and the historical derivation of it mere window dressing for the Soviet censor.

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Criticism, history, subjectivity

The title of this book - The ends of Ireland - brings together a number of closely entwined subjects and themes. The chapters in the book are concerned with the work of a generation of critics emerging from Ireland from the 1980s onwards whose work examines the idea of the 'ends of Ireland' in the sense of a focus on the purpose and consequences of a range of concepts of the nation and national identity. Yet these critics - Luke Gibbons, David Lloyd, Seamus Deane, W.J. McCormack, Gerardine Meaney and Emer Nolan - have the notion of 'ends' and 'endings' as their object in other ways. As the main representatives of the turn to theory in Irish Studies that occurred in the late 1980s and the 1990s, they have tracked and catalysed the dissolution of an unreflective and ideological notion of national identity as a matrix of critical analysis. The book examines the margin between Ireland and its others in order to elaborate a sense of what it might mean to speak of Ireland in the wake of the new ideas that began to circulate in the 1980s: deconstruction, psychoanalytic theory, feminism, subaltern studies, postcolonialism and not least the revisionist approaches that have revolutionized Irish historiography.

Editors: and

Utopia is an ideal society in an imaginary country. 'Utopia' in Greek means 'No place', and utopias are frustratingly to be found on faraway islands, continents or planets which are difficult to reach. Philosophers and writers have followed the prophets and been quick to offer their own versions of utopia. While anarchism has always had a utopian dimension in the sense of imagining a free society without the state, not all literary utopias have been anarchistic. Anarchist utopias value mutual aid and solidarity as well as personal freedom and autonomy. The anarchist utopia is not the closed space of a perfect society but engages in constant struggle against protean forms of domination, hierarchy and exploitation. Wary of the many potential pitfalls of utopian speculation and, in particular, of the ways in which it may constrain free thinking rather than enrich it, many anarchists are now united far more by what they are against than what they are for. The primary aim of this book is to encourage further reflection on the wisdom of such blanket anarchist anti-utopianism. It does so by assembling the first collection of original essays to explore the relationship between anarchism and utopianism and, in particular, the ways in which their long historical interaction from the Warring States epoch of ancient China to the present day has proven fruitful for emancipatory politics.

Living spirituality

Between 1598 and 1800, an estimated 3, 271 Catholic women left England to enter convents on the Continent. This study focuses more particularly upon those who became Benedictines in the seventeenth century, choosing exile in order to pursue their vocation for an enclosed life. Through the study of a wide variety of original manuscripts, including chronicles, death notices, clerical instructions, texts of spiritual guidance, but also the nuns’ own collections of notes, this book highlights the tensions between the contemplative ideal and the nuns’ personal experiences. Its first four chapters adopt a traditional historical approach to illustrate the tensions between theory and practice in the ideal of being dead to the world. They offer a prosopographical study of Benedictine convents in exile, and show how those houses were both cut-off and enclosed yet very much in touch with the religious and political developments at home. The next fur chapters propose a different point of entry into the history of nuns, with a study of emotions and the senses in the cloister, delving into the textual analysis of the nuns’ personal and communal documents to explore aspect of a lived spirituality, when the body, which so often hindered the spirit, at times enabled spiritual experience.