In her article "Challenges and Possibilities for World Literature, Global Literature, and Translation" Kathleen Shields argues that Goethe's concept of Weltliteratur was grounded in translation practice: in creating a canon representing the best of each nation, translation occupied centre stage. Nation-building in Europe in the nineteenth century was combined with the idea of transnational literature where translation was an important tool of transmission and exchange, as well as a way of decentering from a strong monolingual base. There are four challenges for comparative literature now. Firstly, the nation state is weakening. Secondly, despite the growing interest in world literature since the 1990s, Goethe's idea of Weltliteratur is in decline, replaced by the rise of English as a lingua franca and pivot language for translations. Thirdly, asymmetries in relations between languages, and the very small number of translation languages, are becoming more marked. Finally, digital reading means that literary products are simply "there," fluidly absorbed into ever-changing canons with no visible means of mediation. What then are the opportunities offered by the European tradition of translation studies? Could polysystem theory help to re-examine the filters and asymmetric relations that exist between producers and consumers of literary texts? Can translation studies map relations of prestige to arrive at not only an ethics but also a geopolitics of literature?
"Challenges and Possibilities for World Literature, Global Literature, and Translation."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
This text has been double-blind peer reviewed by 2+1 experts in the field.
The above text, published by Purdue University Press ©Purdue University, has been downloaded 1669 times as of 02/13/17.
American Studies Commons, Comparative Literature Commons, Education Commons, European Languages and Societies Commons, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Other Arts and Humanities Commons, Other Film and Media Studies Commons, Reading and Language Commons, Rhetoric and Composition Commons, Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons, Television Commons, Theatre and Performance Studies Commons