•  
  •  
 

Abstract

In his article "Greek, Latin, and the Origins of 'World Literature'" Alexander Beecroft argues that while it is hardly new that the models of contemporary comparative and world literature(s) are Eurocentric in their origins and structures, the precise nature of Eurocentrism is less discussed. Beecroft argues that far from representing (as Goethe had wished) the end of national literature, the era of comparative and world literatures has, from its beginnings, been structured specifically around the notion of "national literatures." Beecroft explores the national basis for the study of comparative and world literatures in the nineteenth century with particular attention to the anthologies of Noël and La Place and de Staël's De la littérature considerée dans ses rapports avec les institutions sociales and the representation in each of Greek and Latin as "national literatures." Beecroft argues that the failure of the national literary system to recognize the distinctive nature of these classical languages led to particular challenges to speakers of non-European languages such as Chinese whose own literatures failed to match the national model as they sought to enter the system of world literatures.