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Abstract

In his article "World Literatures in Temporal Perspective" David Damrosch discusses the vexed problem of how to shape a literary history into definable and meaningful periods without simply projecting old Western patterns onto new ages and distant areas of the world. This problem becomes acute when one seeks to create a genuinely global literary history. Damrosch surveys some early periodizations according to patterns of infancy, growth, maturity, and decline, and discusses the often unrealized persistence of biblical and classical models in modern accounts of the literary histories of Egypt, Mesoamerica, and India.