World literature and space constructions

Authored by: David Simo

The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138718364
eBook ISBN: 9780429438233
Adobe ISBN:


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The concept ‘world literature’, first coined in the nineteenth century, has over the years been subject to multiple re-conceptualizations as scholars and authors have endeavoured to construct literary spaces and to create spaces within literature. In this chapter, I use the term ‘literary space’ to denote the spaces in which literature circulates, as well as the spatial constitution of literary fields. The latter are areas where various institutions (e.g. literary criticism, publishing houses, literary prizes, research projects, and teaching) attempt to determine the nature, hierarchy, diffusion, function, genealogy, and direction of literature. Thus, literary space encompasses literature’s genesis, reception, and sphere of influence. In referring to the expression of space in literature, I mean the staging of real or imagined spaces, spatial models, or spatial practices within a text.

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