Grounding World Literature (recording and suggested reading)

Session leader: Dr Jack Clift (SOAS)

26th October 2022, 2-3.30pm

What is the “world” of world literature? Whose “world” is this, and is it possible to think in truly “worldly” terms about literature? In this session, we will interrogate what it means to speak of world literature in the age of globalisation and explore how recent developments in decolonial thought have prompted a reconceptualisation of world literature as both a textual corpus and a critical methodology. We will trace world literature’s nineteenth-century beginnings, its resurgence in the early twenty-first century and more recent attempts to “ground” the discipline in texts and practices at a local level, considering how world literature might best be formulated to take account of languages and literatures the world over.



This video is shared under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC license, meaning that it cannot be redistributed or reused for commercial purposes, and that credit must be given to the creator (Jack Clift) for any future uses or references to the content of the video.

Recommended reading: 

  • Apter, E. S. (2013). Against world literature: On the politics of untranslatability. Verso. 
  • Damrosch, D. (2003). What is world literature? Princeton University Press. 
  • Deckard, S., Lawrence, N., Lazarus, N., Macdonald, G., Mukherjee, U. P., Parry, B., Shapiro, S., & Warwick Research Collective (Eds.). (2015). Combined and uneven development: Towards a new theory of world-literature. Liverpool University Press. 
  • Laachir, K., Marzagora, S., & Orsini, F. (2018). Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies: For a Ground-up and Located Approach to World Literature. Modern Languages Open, 2018(1), 19. 
  • Moretti, F. (2000). Conjectures on world literature. New Left Review, 54(1). 
  • Mufti, A. (2016). Forget English! Orientalisms and world literatures. Harvard University Press. 
  • Nirvana Tanoukhi. (2009). The Scale of World Literature. New Literary History, 39(3–4), 599–617. 

This training session on world literature is Part of the Convocation Seminars in World Literature and Translation(Opens in new window). Co-convened with LINKS(Opens in new window) (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies).

Last modified: Friday, 28 October 2022, 3:53 PM