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Nach der „République mondiale des Lettres“. Gibt es noch eine französischsprachige Weltliteratur?

Wolfgang Asholt

Pages 199 - 215

Since the publication of ‘La République mondiale des lettres’ by Pascale Casanova (The World Republic of Letters) in 1999, questions such as ‘What is world literature?’ (Damrosch), or ‘Where is World literature?’ (Pradeau/Samoyault) have been raised. These questions indicate that the notion has lost its former evidence in the wake of the “Philology of World literature” (1952) of Erich Auerbach. The article problematizes this conception, discusses different models (such as margins–centre, circulation– movement, decentralization–dehierarchization), and is especially dedicated to French literature, which, in the course of the twentieth century has not only lost its age-long status of the “international capital of letters”, but has also undergone significant transformations due to postcolonial studies and gender studies. Two contemporary examples, (Olivier Rolin: The invention of the world, 1993 and Assia Djebar: The Nights of Strasbourg, 1997) illustrate the possibilities and the limits of a “world literature in French”. After examining the importance and the unbalance related to translations and to the current position of French contemporary literature in the Anglophone world, the article finally appeals to the contemporary French Studies to engage in discussions about world literature in order to prevent literature in the French language from becoming a minor literature (“kleine Literatur” in the sense of Kafka, Deleuze/ Guattari).


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