During World Language and Literature Week, pupils will dress as one of the characters in a book they love, decorate class rooms and enjoy “walking” into a book. Furthermore, FAHASA chain bookstore will organize a book fair this whole week, parents will be able to purchase books their children love with special discounts and everyone will be able to swap books during the event.
Global Literature can’t help but reflect global capitalism, in its triumph, inequalities, and deformations. In the English language, World Literature has its signature writers: Rushdie and Coetzee at the lead, and Kiran Desai, Mohsin Hamid, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie among the younger charges. It has its own economy, consisting of international publishing networks, scouts, and book fairs. It has its prizes: the Nobel, of course, but more powerful and snazzier is the Man Booker, and the Man Booker International. Its political arm is PEN. And it has a social calendar full of literary festivals, which bring global elites into contact with the glittering stars of World Lit. Every year, sections of the dominant class fly from Mexico City to have Julian Barnes sign books in Xalapa, or from Delhi to Jaipur to be seen partying with Mario Vargas Llosa. The Hay Festival, started in Hay-on-Wye in rural Wales, now has outposts in Dhaka, Beirut, Nairobi, and elsewhere. “Hay Festival in Cartagena de Indias” is an accidentally funny phrase — Sí, hay festival — redolent of a strange new intimacy between global north and south.
Invitation to World Literature: Journey to the West - Learner
Marx and Engels wrote, however, when literature was on the march, at a time of fast-growing readerships in Europe and America and the beginnings of universal public education. The literate portion of the population, and the quantity of modern literature it consumed (in addition to its diet of journalism, scripture, and delectable trash), would go on swelling for another 120 years or so. Even today, in a few countries, including enormous India, the average person probably reads more rather than less each year, and maybe even reads better stuff. Elsewhere, writers of serious or half-serious fiction and essays, never mind poetry or plays, face national audiences apparently shrinking in relative or absolute terms. The readership for “literature”—in the sense of actual or wannabe works of artistry and intellect—may be spreading out, globally, but in most societies it appears also to be thinning. Literature never quite shed its elite connotations; today it is a more professionalized and elite activity than it was a generation or two ago. One temptation is for writers to hope that enough thin-sliced national audiences, stacked together, might be world enough to support them.
UNF - COAS: Languages, Literatures & Cultures - Home
More significant and accomplished works have also concentrated on historical trauma in a way now typical of World Literature, as when Junot Díaz’s Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) turns abruptly from the lives of contemporary Dominican Americans to their painful background in the Trujillo dictatorship. In Teju Cole’s Open City (2011), a searching and often brilliant book, the main character Julius quests throughout New York for memorials testifying to slave markets, the killing of American Indians, and other atrocities. As in Sebald, a clear influence, melancholy wanderings among the dead seem a way of shielding the novel’s protagonist, and perhaps the novelist himself, from a contemporary world he can’t face.
Lital Levy | Comparative Literature
An older global novel was animated by an attempt to win for fiction not only a new language and form but a role in securing an entire realm of freedom. But the political liberation failed, or was botched or betrayed; to write as if third-worldism were still a source of promise would be an especially tedious kind of cant. In the absence of political prospects, writers have produced backward-glancing narratives of trauma (like the atom bomb going off at the end of The English Patient). World Lit trauma thematics mar the work of a number of acclaimed younger Jewish novelists, with characters discovering the source of everything in the Holocaust — the most flagrant case so far being that of Jonathan Safran Foer, whose first novel, Everything Is Illuminated (2002) was a tearjerking mixture of ESL comedy and destroyed-shtetl travelogue. His second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), was about an innocent and precocious child traumatized by the death on September 11 of Tom Hanks — or rather his perfect father: a conceit at any rate designed to create the maximum of sympathy with the minimum of reality. Burnt Shadows (2009), by Kamila Shamsie (one of Granta’s latest 20 under 40), carries the global formula to a climax of absurdity: it begins in Hiroshima in 1945, moves to partition-era Delhi in 1947, Zia-ul-Haq’s Karachi in the 1980s, New York on September 11, and concludes in Afghanistan as American bombs start to fall.