In his article "Goethe's World Literature, Universal Particularism, and European Imperialism" Dongho Cha tracks the ideology in Goethe's concept of "world literature." Early comparatists claim to stand for the universalism of this concept by understanding it to totalize all literatures across linguistic, territorial, and national boundaries and intended to go beyond European nationalism. Cha argues that Goethe's idea of world literature is not a universal category that includes all of the world nliteratures, but a limited category that includes European literatures only and posits that world literature's and comparative literature's universalism is related to nineteenth-century European imperialism. Contrary to the paradigm of world literatures as practiced in comparative literature, Cha argues that the building and the politics and practice of world literature understood as world literatures must be characterized by boundlessness and limitlessness in order to achieve an understanding and practice of the universal and planetary.
"Goethe’s World Literature, Universal Particularism, and European Imperialism."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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