World Literature as a Construct: Chronotopicity and Self-Reflexivity

Galin Tihanov


In this article, I reflect upon world literature as a socio-cultural construct behind which one can discern particular historical dynamics and tensions. In the first part, I seek to locate the Anglo-Saxon discourse of world literature vis-à-vis three major reference points: time, space, and language. This chronotopic examination allows me to identify focal points of dissent from the currently prevalent liberal mobilisations of 'world literature'. The second part of the article is dedicated to the location of world literature on the level of literature's self-reflection. This is a specific meta-location of world literature which I examine through close attention to a 1930s novel. This allows me to think about skepticism and dissent as a meta-reflexive position, from which literature itself skeptically relates to the notion of 'world literature'.

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