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World literature after Orientalism: the enduring lure of the occident.

This article examines the category Weltliteratur in the context of various models that attempt to provide a systematic account of its development, by Moretti, Casanova, and Damrosch, and elucidates the various debates these engendered. It demonstrates how the epistemological critique of power and domination initiated by Said's Orientalism is effective in deconstructing the latent Orientalism implicit in them. It takes account of the enduring lure of the Occident and its traces on the genesis of the Arabic novel, suggesting that Said's "secular criticism" helps to overcome the problems inherent in the various theories of "world literature."


In a conference on World Literature located in Istanbul in 2008, one of the panels to which I contributed was entitled "Literature after Orientalism." (1) The title begs the question of what the organizers meant by "after." Most certainly, the title does not mean that literature before Orientalism was different from literature after Orientalism. As the conference was debating world literature both as a concept and as a complex construct, the perception of literature was not the main issue in the panel. Literature, thus, is a constant, and Orientalism is the changing factor in the title. But which Orientalism? Is it that of the famous book published by Edward Said in 1978 or the practice and the institution that he analyzed and deconstructed? Had it been the former, then the book would have been the turning point, and my input to the panel would have been a survey of literature in three decades following the publication of Orientalism. If it is the latter, then there are two different possibilities: (1) the book, a landmark no doubt, has dealt a devastating blow to Orientalism--the practice and the institution--and hence the question concerns literature in a world without Orientalism. (2) The other possibility is more nuanced; it acknowledges the role of Said's seminal book in problematizing the field of study known as Orientalism, that encompasses literature, but where it has not been dismantled altogether and our world is not free of Orientalist worldviews. This article addresses the traces of embedded Orientalism-in its manifest and latent forms--in world literature.

Let us start by a working definition of Orientalism: Orientalism, or the dynamics of the "orientalisation of the orient" (Said, Orientalism 67), its representation, definition, and use, can be defined in Said's words:

A field like Orientalism has a cumulative and corporate identity, one that is particularly strong given its association with traditional learning (the classics, the Bible, philology), public institutions (government, trading companies, geographical societies, universities), and generically determined writing (travel books, books of exploration, fantasy, exotic description). The result of Orientalism has been a sort of consensus: certain things, certain types of statement, certain types of work have seemed for the orientalist correct. He has built his work and research upon them, and they in turn have pressed hard upon new writers and scholars. Orientalism can thus be regarded as a manner of regularised (or orientalised) writing, vision, and study dominated by imperatives, perspectives, and ideological biases ostensibly suited to the orient. The orient is taught, researched, administered, and pronounced upon in certain discrete ways. The orient that appears in Orientalism, then, is a system of representations framed by a whole set of forces that brought the orient into Western learning, Western consciousness, and later Western Empire. If this definition of Orientalism seems more political than not, that is simply because I think Orientalism was itself a product of certain political forces and activities. (Orientalism 202-03)

Although Said showed us that the ways in which Orientalism manifests itself are not always discrete, they are always political and capable of penetrating into the four corners of the world for which it is produced: the West. They play an important role in shaping its perception, not only of the other, but mainly of the self, and color, as I would like to argue, the way in which it produces and studies its own literature, on the one hand, and that of the rest of the world, on the other. Since the study of literature is firmly located in the world, and strongly linked to issues of identity, nation, and empire, it can hardly escape the subtle and often invisible sedimentations of Orientalism.

Said makes a distinction between two types of Orientalism:
   an almost unconscious (and certainly an untouchable) positivity
   which I shall call latent Orientalism, and the various
   stated views about Oriental society, languages, literatures,
   history, sociology, and so forth, which I shall call
   manifest Orientalism. Whatever change occurs in knowledge
   of the Orient is found almost exclusively in manifest
   Orientalism; the unanimity, stability, and durability of
   latent Orientalism are more or less constant. (206)

It is this constant latent Orientalism that one can find traces of in other disciplines. What makes the Orient constant is that it is seen as immutable, static, unchanging; and it is in its latency that Orientalism gets assimilated by writers like Leopold von Ranke, Jacob Burkhardt, and Oswald Spengler's notion of the "morphology of cultures" (Said, Orientalism 208).

Orientalism and Theories of World Literature

World literature is gradually emerging as a discipline displacing comparative literature. Goethe coined the term Weltliteratur in 1827 in his conversation with the young Johan Peter Eckermann. World literature is not treated in the major theoretical writings on the subject as "the sum total of the world's literary production, but rather as a world-system within which literature is produced and circulated" (Beecroft 88). The whole category of literature included in this "world-system of literature" is largely confined to modern literature, and the novel, excluding in the process of its formulation oral/folk or traditional literatures. Like Orientalism, it is a Western construct that carries traces of its own history as well as of ideology, hegemony, and power. Since Marx's reference to "world literature" in The Communist Manifesto, the link between literature as a field of cultural production and political economy has been investigated and debated. This is so because, as Aijaz Ahmad argues, Marx

suggests that the making of a "world literature" is intrinsically connected with the making of a "world market," it then necessarily follows that the forces and countries that have played the leading role in the making of that market will also play a leading role in the making of that literature. By "making" here I do not mean "production"; commodities that circulate in the world market are not always produced in the capitalist centres. By "making" here I mean evaluation, accumulation, dissemination, and profit: both money-profit and cultural profit. ("The Communist" 24)

By including the problematic acts of adoption, evaluation, dissemination, and accumulation in its making, Ahmad is aware that both terms--"world market" and "world literature"--are not static or consistent, but changeable, hybrid, and full of internal tensions and contradictions. They are also not polar opposites of "national economy" or "national literature," but an inherent component of them, and increasingly an active player in their fields. Such internal tensions and contradictions have been accelerated in the last few decades with the process of globalization. This is so because Marx associated the emergence of "world literature" with

an objective process inherent in other kinds of globalisation where modes of cultural exchange follow closely upon patterns of political economy. And it is undoubtedly true that with increasing development of the means of commerce and communication on the global scale, the circulation of literary texts across national frontiers has also become ever more brisk with each passing decade. (Ahmad, "The Communist' 13)

But the most interesting consequence of Ahmad's articulation of Marx's materialist concept of "world literature" and his outline of certain features of its development is the emphasis on its dialectic nature. This, in turn--apart from Ahmad's misconstrued attack on Said's Orientalism--brings it in close proximity to Said's formulation of Orientalism. For if one substitutes the term "Orientalism" in Said's earlier definition with that of "world literature," as I do below, some aspects of the problem become more clearly pronounced:

["World Literature"] can thus be regarded as a manner of [universalised] writing, vision, and study dominated by imperatives, perspectives, and ideological biases ostensibly suited to the [subject]. The [literature] in this category is taught, researched, administered, and pronounced upon in certain discrete ways. The ["Literature"] that appears in ["World Literature"], then, is a system of representations framed by a whole set of forces that brought [certain texts] into Western learning, Western consciousness, and later Western Empire. (Said, Orientalism 202-03)

An additional contribution of Orientalism to the study of "world literature" is what Aamir Mufti terms Said's formulation of its "worldly" nature. By this he does not only mean that the vast agglomeration of texts, institutions, and practices are of and in the world, but also and mainly that:
   the system he calls Orientalism seeks to encompass nothing
   less than the world itself. What is at stake, in other
   words, is not simply "representations" (of X, Y, or Z), as
   so many readers of the book have assumed, but the very
   nature and identity of human collectivities and the places
   they inhabit in the world. Hence the disconcerting, defamiliarizing
   intent of the statement with which Orientalism
   opens: "The Orient was almost a European invention"
   (Said 1). Almost, we might note, but not exactly. The assertion
   that "there were--and are--cultures and nations
   whose location is in the East" (Said 5) sounds like the awkward
   apologia of "discourse analysis" if we fail to recognize
   the tense balancing act it seeks to achieve: to assert the
   immense efficacy of Orientalist description over these
   societies while insisting at the same time that no system is
   so powerful as to conquer and exhaust, and thus invent, its
   human objects entirely. ("Global Comparativism" 482)

This "worldly" nature of both Orientalism and "world literature" is an essential dimension of any study of either subject which, as subsequent works argue, is constantly changing, with what Hardt and Negri call the changing genealogy of Empire:
   The genealogy of the passage from imperialism to
   Empire will be first European and then Euro-American,
   not because we believe that these regions are the exclusive
   or privileged source of new ideas and historical innovation,
   but simply because this was the dominant geographical
   path along which the concepts and practices
   that animate today's Empire developed--in step, as we
   will argue, with the development of the capitalist mode of
   production. Whereas the genealogy of Empire is in this
   sense Eurocentric, however, its present powers are not
   limited to any region. Logics of rule that in some sense
   originated in Europe and the United States now invest
   practices of domination throughout the globe, (xv-xvi)

These changes enhance rather than diminish "the formidable structure of cultural domination and, specifically for formerly colonized peoples, the dangers and temptations of employing this structure upon themselves or upon others" (Said qtd. in Mufti, "Orientalism" 462). I shall take some of their impacts in my discussion of the rise of the Arabic novel later, but let us now turn to the debate on "world literature" in accordance with Gramsci's delineation of the "imperative" of producing what Said calls an "inventory of the infinity of traces" that "latent Orientalism" has left upon the literatures that are largely excluded from the formation of both the concept and the process of development of the body of "world literature", yet subjected to it. Approached from the viewpoint of any of the cultures/literatures of the periphery in Emmanuel Wallerstein's "world-system," the mere geography of the term "world literature" raises a number of cartographic and conceptual issues. As Mufti puts it:

Whether we view world literature (with Franco Moretti) as a conceptual organization rather than a body of literary texts or (with David Damrosch) as a special kind of literature, that which circulates beyond its "culture of origin"--and this tension is inherent in and as old as the term itself--we cannot ignore the global relations of force that the concept simultaneously puts in play and hides from view. ("Orientalism" 465)

In a certain sense, the eruption of recent theorization of "world literature" can be perceived as a nuanced address to the problems raised by Fredric Jameson's notorious article 'Third-World Fiterature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism," (2) where he carried the materialist argument developed earlier by Marx to an extreme. Sharing such materialist base with Fredric Jameson, Franco Moretti endeavored to ameliorate it through the introduction of the Annales School as a basis for his theory. His "Conjectures on World Literature" opens with an epigraph from Arnold Schdnberg: "My mission: to say it more simply than I understand it," which seems to be literally true, since the extreme simplicity of his argument raised a flurry of responses. (3) The sweeping generalization of the opening sentence of the article with Goethe's famous dictum: "Nowadays national literature does not mean much: the age of world literature is beginning, and everybody should contribute to hasten its advent," though ameliorated by Marx's plea against national one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness, is also as problematic. For despite Moretti's acknowledgement in his opening section that "world literature is not an object, it's a problem, and a problem that asks for a new critical method" (55), his new critical method in addressing the problem, or rather the possibility of formulating it, still manifests a "latent Orientalism" that becomes more apparent the more one reads into the article. He suggests "one world literary system (of inter-related literatures); but a system which is different from what Goethe and Marx had hoped for, because it's profoundly unequal" (56).

Franco Moretti's system seems to be loosely based on Wallerstein's theory of "world-system," and his world, like that of Wallerstein, seems to be "one and unequal." Wallerstein insists that the "world-system" is a product of the Colombian exchange and the industrial revolution, hence firmly linking it to the axial division of labor that emerged with the industrial revolution (see Wallerstein). Like Wallerstein's, Moretti's view also seems to be connected to the economic system and based on an axial division of labor, which has a trace of "latent Orientalism." In his formulation of "world literature," the core specialists within the field of literary studies, naturally located in the heart of Western academia and preferably writing in English, are given the task of drawing its boundaries and deciding upon who gains access to its paradigms. Specialists from the periphery can be considered only if they support, through their local evidence, the argument postulated by the center. Here Moretti develops his model of "distant reading" in which he reads local scholarship on the novel, rather than the novels themselves--a further example of the axial division of labor. Local specialists in national literatures do the resource-extracting work of reading a vast number of texts, while Western generalists add surplus value to this work through their theoretical synthesis.

His conception of "world literature" is mostly based on his study of the novel, which is defined as a "Western" form, and, more importantly, on his assumption that the production of novels in peripheral cultures-mainly non-European cultures, even if their writing is in a European language like Portuguese or Spanish in Latin America-is not "an indigenous formation but a compromise between a Western formal influence (usually French or English) and local materials" ("Conjectures" 58). Although Moretti's work, particularly in his monumental II Romanzo (The Novel), is subtle and nuanced; his main assumption is that both the rubrics of the form and the demarcation of the field are originated, developed, disseminated, and controlled from the center. The axis upon which labor is divided according to Moretti's theory of the novel affords the core cultures the role of developing new genres for export to the periphery, while the local culture fuses these exported genres with local material and color. His work, which is no less than the canonical history of the field, re-inscribes a hegemonic practice in the field of literary production and ensures the control of core cultures in its domain. Hence, important cultures, such as Arabic, that developed major and highly influential narrative works, such as The Arabian Nights, are totally overlooked, and are not even seen.

Such lacuna is one of the outcomes of his "distant reading," or, to use a less fashionable term, "second-hand reading." To evade Marc Bloch's famous maxim: "years of analysis for a day of synthesis," and the impossible labor that is entailed in the field of "world literature," Moretti proposes a deliberately scandalous agenda, according to Jonathan Arac. As Arac observes, for Moretti:

Literary history must become "second hand." The new synthetic comparatism will take shape as "a patchwork of other people's research without a single direct textual reading." Moretti here deliberately targets the American academy--"the United States is the country of close reading." Against the "extremely small canon" of these scholars he asserts that, the more ambitious any given project may be in the scope of what it undertakes to subsume, "the greater the distance from the text" must necessarily be. Moretti's slogan is to contrast the residual procedure of "close reading" with the emergent process of what he calls "distant reading." The benefit of distant reading is that it "allows you to focus on units that are much smaller or larger than the text: devices, themes, tropes--or genres and systems." (Arac 37)

In his attempt to focus on the larger picture, Moretti relegates the manual labor of literary history to the periphery, and inadvertently converts Wallerstein's special system into a temporal one:

In Moretti's law, the center's relation to the core operates by "influence." That is, the center is earlier than the core: what in Wallerstein is spatial becomes, in Moretti, temporal; and the result comes closer than Moretti might wish to the old priorities of Western comparatism and also to the stadial ("stages") model of development theories. (Arac 38)

Moretti's student, Nirvana Tanoukhi, addressed this issue in "The Scale of World Literature" by introducing the concepts of scale and cartography to the disjunctures and relations of force in his world-system between the globalizing language(s) of the center and the languages, cultures, and literatures of the periphery, suggesting
   that the concept scale, properly theorized, would enable a
   more precise formulation of the role of literature, and literary
   analysis, in the history of the production of space. But,
   in the meantime, though such a critique seems imminent,
   "world literature" threatens to become a hardened (albeit
   enlarged) image of the old literary history, where geography
   evokes a figurative solidity that assumes the guise of
   materiality. My aim is to hasten the literary critique of
   scale by making cracks in the geography of "world literature."
   The postcolonial novel--perhaps one of the most
   geographically constituted objects of literary history-offers
   an ideal weak spot to get us started. (600)

Through her critique of the novel as a site for "world literature," she emphasizes the dynamic nature of the concept by seeing geographic scale as a process, a cartographic program that establishes distances dually: by differentiating places qualitatively and demarcating boundaries quantitatively. She does this in order to support "Moretti's goal of provincializing the European novel", and to reconcile
   two contradictory horizons of comparison: on the one
   hand, economic accounts of a single world made of
   unequal and connected regions; and on the other, cultural
   accounts of multiple universes that are intelligible in their
   own right. While the first precludes in principal the
   notion of comparison (as Immanuel Wallerstein would
   put it, "You do not compare 'parts of a whole'"), it often
   defines "unequal" peripheral regions comparatively in
   terms of their relative location to the centre. (612)

Unlike Moretti, Pascale Casanova's work, La Re'publique mondiale des lettres, develops a theory of "world literature" which is based more on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu of the cultural field of production and its relative autonomy than on the "world-system" of Wallerstein. Her republic has its capital in Paris, which in her own terms constitutes the "Greenwich Meridian of Literature," where literary products are brought to be examined, graded, and their literary value determined. Literature is a "Western" concept that is determined to be Literature by the literary capital of Paris. It is Paris that inscribes symbolic capital into texts which are otherwise often lost, regardless of their literary merits (127-48). Casanova's republic depends largely on translation and the capitalist system of exchange. The politics of its cultural exchange praxis is largely dependent on the dynamics of the Parisian literary field, and its ability to translate rather than to read foreign literary texts. Unlike Moretti's, her republic is much more multi-generic, and does not depend solely on the novel, yet the implicit assumption in her work is similar to that of Moretti: Literature is a Western construct, and other cultures are to be admitted or denied access to its realm according to purely Western criteria. She identifies a parallel between what she calls the inequality of national histories and the inequality between literary resources of nations, but sees these parallels as analogical rather than causal (Beecroft 89). This is perhaps based on Bourdieu's weak institutionalization of the cultural field. In the field of power and colonialism, the causal is more at work than the merely accidental homology. Casanova's Republique also suggests latent Orientalism in its assumption that the admission of non-Western literature into her Republique mondiale starts only with the era of decolonization. This gives the guardians of her Republique's frontiers the power to recognize, admit, or dismiss the literary works of the periphery.

If one perceives Casanova's theorization harshly, one could say with Prendergast that in her Republique,

the winners determine Greenwich Mean Time by instituting a regime of centre and periphery: the "developed" who stipulate and defend the norms of the "literary," and the "backward" who strive to catch up. Rivalry creates a "space" at once riven by the contest for domination and, ultimately, unified by the cross-border movements the competition unleashes. ("Negotiating" 105)

But in the republic of letters, things are never that clear cut, not to say simplistic. Prendergast himself, promoting his dynamics of diplomatico-commercial term "negotiation," in a mode of cooperative rather than competitive transaction, acknowledges that within the center, the "revolutionaries are the real heroes of the tale, producing a new measure of literary time, a patrimoine litteraire mondial, a truly international form of literary capital, for the most part in Paris" (108).

Here Tanoukhi's argument of scale is useful, though she also notes that Casanova leaves us in an inescapable structure of domination that limits both the freedom and the creativity of the writers outside her literary meridian:
   An ingenuous logic, which leaves us with a literary universe
   whose internal differentiation into zones may be
   theoretically attributed to the uneven distribution of literary
   capital--but that is differentiated from a methodological
   point of view by a fundamentally unequal capacity
   among zones for sustainable modes of literary production:
   "large-scale" projects like forms, genres, or literature
   itself expand out of Central Europe, while "small-scale"
   endeavors like techniques, styles, or texts transpire
   locally. In such a universe, where "writers within subordinated
   regions" are oppressed-and-freed by the task of
   "writing back," a misplaced genre like the postcolonial
   novel is the quintessential object of comparison. (611)

Here Casanova's theorization meets that of Moretti on the level of one and unequal system/world. Said reminds us

that fields of learning, as well as the works of even the most eccentric artists, are constrained and acted upon by society, by cultural tradition, by worldly circumstances, and by stabilising influences like schools, libraries, and governments; moreover that both learned and imaginative writings are never free, but are limited in their imagery, assumptions and intentions; and finally that the advances made by a "science" like Orientalism in its academic form are less objectively true than we often like to think. (Orientalism 201)

With this in mind, I would like to suggest that the international division of labor inherent in the two theories which I discussed implies a hierarchization of cultures that discloses the dynamics of neo-Orientalism, not to say neo-cultural imperialism. The two theories are Eurocentric, and suffer from the lack of knowledge of "non-Western" literatures, yet they equate Western recognition of the little they know of the literature of other cultures, which is generally inadequate, selective, and scant, with an act of bestowing being and giving birth to what is for them a non-existent literature, no matter how old or accomplished these literatures may be. In this way, one can see in them the process of the re-inscription of hegemonic cultural centers, in a manner that tacitly implies that while the West may have lost its imperial power over certain geographies, it still holds the symbolic power over the realms of values, ideas, and literature.

Yet one cannot deny that both Moretti and Casanova have developed bold and highly significant theses, marked by sophistication, width of scope, and idealism of vision. They are aware of the complexity of international canonization inherent in the concept of "world literature," or a "world republic of letters," and many of their critics and/or apologists try to transform this notion's flawed and constantly changing nature into forms of coherence and paradigms. Their work would have been less Eurocentric had they integrated in their theories a concept of culture which is non-essentialist and hybrid. Both theories leave something to be desired: the need to state more clearly that it is complexity rather than essence that defines the subject, and, in turn, helps to dissipate any whiff of latent Orientalism from the air. What I would have liked to see in both studies is a critique of domination, and, if not too ambitious and optimistic, a re-examination of suppressed histories and marginalized literatures. But the absence in their work of even any spurious discussion of what hegemony means is surprising.

This is what David Damrosch addresses in his book What Is World Literature?, by avoiding the totalizing thesis, perceiving world literature broadly as "encompassing all literary works that circulate beyond their culture of origin, either in translation or in their original language" (4). Yet he hastens to add that "a work only has an effective life as world literature whenever, and wherever, it is actively present within a literary system beyond that of its original culture" (4), fearing that this will make the field meaningless and impossible to study, and influenced by Claudio Guillen's cautionary remarks (see The Challenges of Comparative Literature 38). This remark implicitly saves his observation from manipulation by the politics of translation where several factors--beyond the mere act of selecting and translating a foreign work of literature--play varying roles in offering the translated work an "effective life" in the host culture. For the elliptical circulation of texts beyond their spatio-temporal points of origin produces a form of reading that operates on three simultaneous levels, according to Damrosch: "a sharp difference we enjoy for its sheer novelty; a gratifying similarity that we find in the text or project onto it; and a middle range of what is like-but-unlike--the sort of relation most likely to make a productive change in our own perceptions and practices" (12).

Furthermore, Damrosch avoids the unitary definition of the field and opts for a pluralistic approach that selects three different, but complementary, definitions of world literature. He proposes "a threefold definition focused on the world, the text, and the reader: 1) World literature is an elliptical refraction of national literature; 2) World literature is writing that gains in translation; 3) World literature is not a set canon of texts but a mode of reading: a form of detached engagement with worlds beyond our own place and time" (281). His first definition, the one addressing the world from which the text comes as well as the one to which it travels (across linguistic, cultural, and national borders), is the most relevant to our discussion of Orientalism. World literature is a refraction of national literature, a definition that takes both into consideration, and emphasizes the dynamics of their interaction, on the one hand, and the plurality of the concept, on the other. This refraction is, therefore:
   double in nature: works become world literature by being
   received into the space of a foreign culture, a space defined in
   many ways by the host culture's national tradition and the present
   needs of its own writers. Even a single work of world literature
   is the locus of a negotiation between two different cultures.
   The receiving culture can use the foreign material in all
   sorts of ways.... World literature is thus always as much about
   the host culture's values and needs, as it is about the work's
   source culture; hence it is a double refraction, one that can be
   described through the figure of the ellipse, with the source and
   host culture providing the two foci that generate the elliptical
   space within which a work lives as world literature, connected
   to both cultures, circumscribed by neither alone. (283)

In this subtle and dialectical manner, Damrosch opens the possibility for a number of different and culturally specific variations on the term, "world literature," resulting from the infinite varieties of cultural and literary negotiations, the dynamics of each cultural field at any junction of time, and the changing needs of every culture in its trajectory of development and interaction with others. This makes his concept open, fluid, culturally and temporally specific, and free from any traces or sedimentations of Western-centrism, and latent Orientalism.

The open nature and fluidity of the concept is enhanced further by his third definition, which departs from any set canon of texts, or an accidentally defined "republic of letters," and emphasizes that world literature "is a mode of reading: a form of detached engagement with worlds beyond our own place and time" (281). The concept of "a mode of reading," which he borrows from Iser (see The Act of Reading), brings in the dynamics of the host-culture's aesthetic response to the foreign text, and "works less by communicating fixed information than by creating suggestive gaps that the reader must fill" (292). This emphasizes the active engagement of the host culture, but how much any engagement can be detached, particularly in the cultural field, is a debatable question, yet it is important to note that the engagement with worlds beyond "our own place and time," is always conditioned by the demands and dynamics of "our own place and time." (4)

The Lure of the Occident and Orientalization in the Orient

The lure of the Occident in the Orient is another latent form of Orientalism, this time practiced by the Orientals who internalize, though unconsciously, some of Orientalism's tenets and concepts. I shall deal here with three issues: modernity, canon, and translatability. Modernity has been amply studied and linked to many aspects of the production of new literary genres. I would like here to draw the attention to a small and a highly original book, In Praise of the Variant: A Critical History of Philology, by Bernard Cerquiglini. In this book, Cerquiglini establishes the revealing fact that "modernity and the notion of the text are almost one and the same; that text is literally modernity; that modernity belongs to the text; that text formed and forms modernity; that there is something that legitimately may be called textuary modernity" (ix).

It is impossible to think of modernity without the text, a reliable and finite text codified and finalized in print, rather than the variation of individual manuscripts; for this finite text brings the power of mechanical reproduction and printing to bear on the sovereignty of writing in a manner that makes modernity the religion of the text. Cerquiglini, whose main focus is writing the archaeology of the text and the critical history of philology, goes on to link the emergence of the concept of the author between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the concept of belles-lettres, to the waning of royal/private patronage in the face of modernity. In all of this he elucidates the emergence of the title page and the author's legal rights (which date to the eighteenth-nineteenth century) and the emergence of philology as a new science and its application to old objects as the cornerstone of modernity.

He is positing the vital role of the text in the process of modernity in a way that demands we rethink modernity itself when we apply it to cultures such as Arab culture. Between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, Arab culture created one of the greatest narrative texts of all times, The Arabian Nights. Yet when it came to its own process of modernity in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it had to push The Arabian Nights aside, relegate it to the bottom rungs of oral literature, and develop new narrative genres along those created in the West. How can one interpret this outside powerful lure of the by then triumphant Occident, colonializing most of the Arab world?

I have devoted a book-length study to the genesis of modern Arabic narrative discourse, and the lengthy process of cultural transformation that led to the emergence of new literary genres in Arabic literature around the turn of the twentieth century (See The Genesis of Arabic Narrative Discourse). It is highly significant here to note that Moretti in his erudite "distant reading" of the rise of the novel in the periphery did not explore its argument which challenges the thesis of borrowing as articulated in most of the works he distantly read. But what I would like to emphasize here is that the Occident, and more precisely Europe as an object of desire and a rival for this desire, has been always there in the Arabic novel from the time of its inception to the present day. The novel which is generally accepted in Arab culture, as well as in Western scholarship, as marking the emergence of the Arabic novel: Zaynab by Muhammad Husain Haykal (1888-1956) was written in Europe in 1911. Zaynab was not the first Arabic novel to be published; many novels appeared before Zaynab, some of which are serious contenders for the place it occupies. But Zaynab takes up this privileged place in the history of the modern Arabic novel for many reasons, two of which are the context and the position of its author in the culture and political field, particularly in the three decades following its publication, during which the process of its canonization took place.

Between 1910 and 1911, Zaynab was written in Paris, London, and Geneva, when Haykal was studying for his doctorate in law at the Sorbonne. He was twenty-three years old when he finished it, and it was, as he tells us in his introduction to its third edition several years later, the product of two main factors. First, there was his discovery of the French novel and the precision of the French language, and, second, his homesickness, yearning, and nostalgia for his homeland when he was abroad. Yet he tells us that the two were somewhat incompatible and irreconcilable:

I was driven to writing it by a force I could neither resist nor fully comprehend. I used to write in the morning soon after I woke up. But before I started writing, I drew the curtains on my windows and shut out the light of day. I switched on the electricity, as if I wanted to shut out the life of Paris to discern in my solitude away from Egypt the Egyptian life inscribed in my memory and imagination. When I was in Switzerland, I was often taken by the beauty of its mountains and lakes and the luxuriant trees bathed in the rays of the sun or the moon, letting its patterns quiver on the surface of the lakes. This led me always to the manuscript of Zaynab where I recaptured the scenery of our Egyptian countryside, the beauty of its lush green, and I was often more taken by the beauty of the scene engraved in my memory than that appearing before my eyes in Switzerland. I always wrote what was stored in my mind before writing anything about what I saw before me. (Haykal 10; my translation)

This is highly significant; Haykal needed to shut out Paris, the source of his inspiration for writing the novel, in order to write it. Although he was very young, he was instinctively aware of the power of occidental interference and the need to shut it out in order to achieve his communion with the world he wanted to recreate. In order to write what became the first Arabic novel, Haykal has both to know and admire Paris and to shut it out of the process of writing simultaneously. In doing so, Haykal was going against the assumptions of Moretti and Casanova, for he had to prioritize his cultural memory over his current reality, and particularly over any "Western" influences. He was writing in Arabic in his deliberately darkened room to alleviate his sense of isolation and longing for what he had left behind. His novel was a lover's discourse for his distant beloved, and as Barthes pointed out, a lover's discourse is a discourse of solitude (see A Lover's Discourse). He was also relying mainly on his memory for this act of "remembrance of things past," and on his imagination to portray his beloved: none other than millennial Egypt. He concludes his introduction by saying that:
   Zaynab is the product of nostalgia for the homeland and its
   life, written with a pen residing in Paris, full, despite its
   yearning for Egypt, of admiration for Paris and French literature.
   It is also the product of early youth with its strength and
   weakness, vigor and energy, idealism, hopes and fears. (12)

This demonstrates the problematic relationship between the Arabic novel and Europe from the very beginning; when the subaltern speaks, it is clear that his voice is not free from the sedimentation of his representation by the West. His representation of himself and his culture is at one level of its reading a representation of a representation. It acknowledges the need to know and admire Paris, to assimilate it and filter it through, and to shut it out and engender its absence at the same time. The absence of the present Occident was the prerequisite for the presence of the absent Egypt that the process of creating the novel articulated. But Haykal's adoration of the Occident in his darkened room in Paris or Geneva overlooked or even suppressed the notion of counter-memory, archive, and the inventory of his own tradition, or, to use Said's terms: "form and representation of narrative fiction are based upon a desire--authorised as well as 'molested' by the novelistic consciousness--to mime the life process of generation, flourishing and death" (Beginnings xix).

It was also the prerequisite for the creation of what Benedict Anderson calls "a world of plurals" (32), fellaheen (peasants), trees, shrubs, fields and rivers, in which Haykal is at one with his readers and at his best using the first person plural narrative. The conjuring of the distant and absent land engendered the process of creating the "imagined community" in a very concrete form. In fact, Zaynab both "opened up the countryside" for subsequent writers and turned it at the same time into an icon for Egyptianness. Haykal was writing the first "national" novel triggered by memory and nostalgia, both playing a significant role in the shaping of the "imagined community." It was necessary to hang on to national memory in order to resist the colonial order that controlled the present. Shutting out European geography was a necessary prerequisite for creating an "imagined community" as a potent alternative to the present, an act of brushing aside the colonial present.

But the problematic relationship between the Arabic novel and Europe was not confined to the conflict between the locations of the writing and of the narrative. It extends to the milieu of the author and his writing. Haykal was born six years after the British occupation of Egypt and the expulsion of its national leaders to Serendip. He spent his formative years studying in Cairo, in a world where colonialism was persistently contested, and selected law as a field of study at university -instead of engineering which his father wanted--because lawyers were seen as the constitutional advocates of Egyptian independence. Like many young men of his generation, Haykal sought to follow in the footsteps of the charismatic lawyer and patriot Mustafa Kamil at a time when leaders in both countries debated the British occupation of Egypt in primarily legal terms. In Cairo, Haykal became one of the disciples of Lutfi al-Sayyid, a prominent member of the newly formed Umma (nation) Party, the members of which sought political autonomy for Egypt and the formation of Egyptian national identity.

In 1908, Lutfi al-Sayyid called specifically for development of "a locally inspired literature." Thus we may perceive of Zaynab as one important response to his urging; certainly his view of the significance of literature was shared by Haykal who came to view in his later writing a fundamental relation between literature and national consciousness. Yet when Haykal wrote Zaynab it was under the hypnotic lure of the Occident, and this condition of beginning, as Said calls it, continues to tie the Arabic novel to its European counterpart, from whose orbit it has yet to free itself. To his great chagrin, Haykal's novel bonded the literature of Egypt more to the Western ideas and ideals he was shutting out than to the ethos, rhythm, and narrative mode of the rural life for which he yearned. He was not aware that by mediating his culture through the Western genre, and subjecting it to its rubrics, he was adopting from the West a form of writing, a way of seeing, and a mode of thinking, much more than he would like to admit. The Arabic novel, which he inaugurated, continued to interact with its European counterpart for the first seventy years of its history. It did not discover the enriching process of conducting a dialogue with its rich heritage of Arabic narrative until the arrival of the innovative strategies of the 1960s generation. (5)

This attraction to the West played a significant role in the formation of the modern Arabic literary canon, despite Arab culture's long history and tradition of creating its own canon. Unlike the West, where the concepts of canon and canonical literary texts date back only to the eighteenth century, Arab culture has had its classics and classification of writers and works since pre-Islamic time when the best mu 'allaqat (odes) were selected to be hung on the walls of the Kaaba. This system acquired a degree of sophistication in the ninth century, with tabaqat fuhul al-shu 'ara' (classes of great poets), and vigor and rationality with the rise of Arabic criticism in the crucible of i'tizal (philosophical reflections) over the following three centuries. I'tizal, with its high degree of rationality and careful methodology, foregrounded rational argument and led to the development of aesthetic judgment, critical comparison, and rigorous evaluation. By the twelfth century, the concept of classics was highly elaborate and led to several individual selections, al-Mufaddaliyyat, al-Asma'iyyat, Jamharat Shu 'ara' al-'Arab, Mukhtarat, etc. In the thirteenth century, a counter-canon began to emerge with the book of al-Hamasah by Abu-Tammam, and a heterogeneous canon could be traced in the book of al-Aghani by al-Asfahani. The Andalusian Hazim al-Qirtajanni posited great poets as a yardstick for judging the place of other poets in the canon.

Despite this rich history, when the literary and educational establishment started to formulate a literary canon for the newly emerging nations with their new educational systems, none of this was taken into account. A new history of literature was written along European periodization, (6) and the concept of the intellectual underwent major transformation from being one who is well-versed in his own cultural tradition to one strongly acquainted with European culture. This was a result of a schism in the educational system, and an active process of the modernist appropriation of the symbolic capital from the traditionalists, pulling the cultural rug from beneath their feet. This led to a clear reorientation of Arab culture towards the Mediterranean, as codified in Taha Husain's book, Mustaqbal al-thaqafa fi Misr (The Future of Culture in Egypt; 1938). The concept of classics and the formation of the literary canon in the modern period benefitted from some of the achievements of the past but had its eyes on the Occident, which was clear in the desire to have works recognized by the West, first by its specialists (orientalists), then by its literary circles. The intervention of the international literary field led to a crisis in the canon and a distortion of the literary field in Arab culture, which was already distorted by the intervention of the socio-political establishment.

Distortion of the Field and the Struggle for "World Literature"

Pierre Bourdieu places literary and artistic texts within a space of all available possibilities: social, textual, individual, psychological, etc., as well as other legitimating factors, such as critics, publishers, prizes, academies. He analyzes the structure of this field, noting that the literary field is not harmonious but built on conflicting aesthetics and the struggle for symbolic capital with its own rules that make it different from other economic capitals. He positions the field within the broader field of power: political, economic, educational, etc., each defined as a structured space, and distinguishes between the production of texts and the symbolic production of values. This leads him to introduce the concept of the literary field's weak degree of institutionalization resulting from dealing largely in symbolic capital and its relative autonomy of politics and economics (see The Field of Cultural Production). This is insightful and sophisticated, and I am a great admirer of Bourdieu since his early work on Algeria (Algeria 1960), but his work was largely based on the French cultural field in a democratic society free from the burden of colonialism.

When I apply his work to the Arabic literary field, I find that there is a need to study, alongside this, the impact of the restricting fields of politics, tyranny, despotism (and their prevalent practice of cooption of writers and bestowing "false symbolic capital" on them) on his "weak degree of institutionalization." This is what I mean by a distorted field in which the role of the establishment is further complicated by the lack of freedom, and, in turn, very limited choices before many players in the field. If one adds to all of these restrictions the psychological position of not only the "orientalized subaltern," but also the constantly defeated culture with the malaise of the conquered--Arabs having suffered one defeat after another since the catastrophe of 1948 and the loss of Palestine (7)--the field becomes more complex.

This deformed field is further distorted by the intervention of the international field through its prizes and translations. In 1988, the Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arab writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature to the shock of many. At the time of the award, his major work Cairo Trilogy was only available in French, and he had only three novels and one collection of short stories available in English translation. The compulsion to translate Mahfouz after this event is a case worthy of elaborate study in the sociology of literature. The most significant impact of this award has been viewing it as a value judgment--not only of the worth of Naguib Mahfouz himself, but of Arabic literature as a whole. This in turn led to further quest for visibility in the West. It is also seen as a value judgment by a powerhouse that fashions the field of world literature and shapes its various positions and hierarchies. I would like to cite an interesting anecdote, significant in this regard. I knew Mahfouz for forty years, and wrote extensively in Arabic on his work. My articles on him were mostly positive, but one of them, which I had published a few years before he was awarded the prize, was particularly harsh in its analysis of one of his less successful works. When he was awarded the Nobel Prize, a journalist wrote that now those who criticize Mahfouz should eat their words. The judgment of the Swedish Academy, none of whose members read Mahfouz in Arabic, and most of whom had a scant knowledge of his work, was seen in Arab culture as more weighty, valuable, and authoritative than the words of established critics in this culture who knew the works of Mahfouz inside out.

The distortion of the field is further complicated by the ability of the West to provide its literary judgment with economic muscles (the valuable translation rights and copyrights that the translated work earns, often much more than what the Arabic original provides the author), through remunerations normally enhanced by the favorable rate of exchange. Mahfouz himself is a case in point, not only because the sales of the English translation of his Cairo Trilogy alone exceeded the sales of all his novels put together in Arabic, but also because his translation rights exceeded his profit from all his other novels in Arabic. If it is said that there are more people who have read Garcia Marquez in a language other than Spanish itself, and Spanish is of course spoken across much of Latin America in addition to Spain, the same holds true for Mahfouz. Now we have a handful of Arab writers who can survive on their remunerations from their novels, not from the Arabic remunerations which are normally dismal, but from the translation rights to European languages.

Twenty-five years have passed since the Nobel Prize was awarded to an Arab writer. The number of novels translated from Arabic into major European languages-e.g., French, English, Spanish, German, and Italian-in this period has increased fivefold compared with the number of works translated between the rise of the Arabic novel and 1988. But in order not to feel euphoric about this great increase, let us consider the example of the most active European language in translating Arabic literature: French. In 1970, there was only a handful of modern Arabic texts available in French in addition to some works from classical Arabic; in 2008 there were over 400 Arabic books available in French translation. In the wider picture, this increased the share of Arabic literature from 0.3% to 0.9% of the translated literature in French (see Jacquemond). Yet we now have young writers who have only published one novel and succeeded in getting it translated into one or more of the major European languages. The offshoot of this is that we have many texts written in Arabic by authors who do not know any European language and whose texts implicitly target Western readers. This takes three different forms. One is the explication of local cultural references that the Arab reader knows well, and is rather taken aback to see explained. The second is the exoticization of the world of the novel and the selection of topics that the writer thinks may appeal to the Western reader. The third is the falsification of reality, and the subjugation of certain details to fit or vindicate the vision of the orient acceptable to the West.

The Longman Anthology of World Literature devotes a disproportionate amount of attention to "classical" Arabic literature at the expense of the apparently more contested twentieth-century Arabic literature which it excludes. The editors all recognize and accept the great Arabic, Persian, and Turkish contributions in the "middle ages" without much dispute. They were generously accepting most of the major texts, from Pre-Islamic poetry to the Arabian Nights, from the prose of al-Jahiz to the Sufi revelations of Ibn 'Arabi and Farid al-Din 'Attar, Al-Niffari, Hafiz, and Rumi. Al-Firdawsi's Shanama was equally adequately represented by its most famous story of Sohrab and Rustum. This was also the case with classical Chinese and Japanese literatures.

But when it came to the twentieth century to which one of the six volumes of the Anthology is devoted, the real struggle began. It emerged that the "field" of twentieth-century literature is a contested arena in which the Occident still exercises a strong influence, and is reluctant to give up its canon-shaping role or power. The Occident, meaning Europe and North America which represent less than 20% of the world population and less than 10% of its languages and cultures, has 75% of the space, and the rest of the world is crammed in the remaining 25%. I must admit, however, that in comparison to other "world literature" anthologies, (8) Longman is by far the most generous when it comes to non-western literatures. Going through a number of the most used anthologies in American academia and beyond, many of which are responsible for the canonization of "world literature," one cannot help but think of what Jonathan Arac calls an "Anglo-Globalism" that remakes the world in its own English image (39).

But globalization is here to stay. For it is the product of the contemporary condition of late capitalist modernity, marked by the constant acceleration of spatio-temporal connection. It demands more awareness of the others and their cultures, on many levels, including academia, hence justifying more emphasis on "world literature," its teaching, and theorization. But to avoid turning it into the "Anglo-Globalism" against which Arac cautions, or worse still a form of cultural "McDonaldization" of norms, dreams, ideologies, and texts, one needs to go back to the lessons of Orientalism. This is necessary not only to compile the inventory of traces on the "orientalized" cultures, some of whose sedimentations in Arabic literature I tried to show, but mainly to be mindful of the power politics and hegemonic practices of globalization, translation, and "world literature." For Orientalism as an epistemological critique of categories of knowledge and domination is capable of deconstructing the formidable structures and grounds upon which "world literature" as an imaginary is projected by power into the social terrain of the world. Even the appeal to diversity-national, religious, civilizational, continental-is itself, as Mufti claims:

a colonial and Orientalist problematic, though one that emerges precisely on the plane of equivalence that is literature. What we have to teach when we teach world literature is precisely the history of these relations of force and powers of assimilation. The universalism that is inherent in the task of rethinking the concept of world literature and its usefulness (or not) in our own times--and I believe that question remains still an open one--thus has to be confronted with linguistic heterogeneity and the concept itself uncoupled from the effects of standardization and homogenization both within and across languages and cultures that come masked as diversity. ("Orientalism" 493)

Without a clear awareness of the workings of "latent Orientalism" in the field and how they penetrate its current condition in the twenty-first century, one can easily fall victim to the lure of its claim for benign universalism, another controversial category which seems to be inherent or assumed in all the theories discussed above. As Butler, Laclau, and Zizek state, "universalism is not a static presumption, not an a priori given, and that it ought instead to be understood as a process or condition irreducible to any of its determinate modes of appearance" (Butler et al. 3). For there are in reality many universalisms, and the contestatory processes determining their forms are brought into a productive and ultimately irresolvable conflict with each other. Yet there is a process of translation by which the repudiated within universality is readmitted into the term in the process of remaking it, as Orientalism teaches us. In this respect, one ought to follow Spivak's advice when she calls for approaching

the language of the other not as a "field" language, in the field of literature we need to move from Anglophony, Lusophony, Francophony, etcetera. We must take the languages of the Southern Hemisphere as active cultural media rather than as objects of cultural study by the sanctioned ignorance of the metropolitan migrant. (Death of a Discipline 9)

This may be one of the possible ways of offering an uncanny reading which displaces the hegemonic sense of the "world" in world literature as a fictive universality in favor of a vision of many worlds, individually distinct and variously connected. But one always has to have in mind the epistemological critique of Orientalism and a clear awareness of the power relation, hegemony, and domination that are operating in the field. This demands more close reading and less distant reading, for as Mufti argues:

What is needed is better close reading, attentive to the worldliness of language and text at various levels of social reality, from the highly localized to the planetary as such. In this sense Said's project at least from Orientalism onward implies not a rejection but rather a radicalization of philology--that is, it calls for a radically historical understanding of language and the forms of its institution in literature, culture, and society. Philology in this sense is thus an indispensable element of the practice of secular criticism as Said conceives of it. An elaboration of this philology after Orientalism, if I may call it that, is one of the core and most urgent tasks of the critical humanities in our time." ("Orientalism" 493)

This task is necessary for a clearer understanding and articulation of secular criticism as defined in detail by Said (see The World 1-30). For only through secular criticism can one develop a systematic study of "world literature" after Orientalism, one in which the critic is located within the field and displaced from it simultaneously. This is so because secular criticism requires contemporary critical consciousness which
   stands between the temptations represented by two formidable and
   related powers engaging critical attention. One is the culture to
   which critics are bound filiatively (by birth, nationality,
   profession); the other is a method or system acquired affiliatively
   (by social and political conviction, economic and historical
   circumstances, voluntary effort and willed deliberations). (25)

In addition to these individual, cultural, and historical considerations, secular criticism "is always situated; it is sceptical, secular, reflectively open to its own failings" (26). This criticism should also, according to Said, be oppositional and contrapuntal: "If criticism is reducible neither to a doctrine nor to a political position on a particular question,

and if it is to be in the world and self-aware simultaneously, then its identity is its difference from other cultural activities and from systems of thought or of method" (29). What Said evokes here is precisely the possibility of rupture in the purportedly continuous and seamless text of the various perceptions of "world literature" in liberal culture.

The "secular" in the term secular criticism has been open to several interpretations, in addition to its obvious connotation of rationality and opposition to subjective or hermeneutic criticism. Bruce Robbins, for instance, offers an imaginative interpretation of the term. For him, the word "secular" has a long history of serving "as a figure for the authority of a putatively universal reason, or (narratively speaking) as the ideal end-point of progress in the intellectual domain" (27). But this history of the term is not what Said has in mind, for it "stands in opposition not to religious concerns or beliefs per se, but to the nation and nationalism as belief system" (Robbins 26). This is also emphasized by Mufti when he states:

secular implies for Said a critique of nationalism as an ideology of hearth and home, of collective Gemiitlichkeif, a critique of the "assurance," "confidence," and "majority sense" that claims on behalf of national culture always imply; a critique of what Said calls "the entire matrix of meanings we associate with 'home,' belonging and community.... Secular criticism, [Said goes on to say,] is aimed at the mutual determinations of the religious and the national, at the unequal division of the field of national experience into domains marked by religious difference." ... It is in this sense that we must read Said when he himself speaks of exile not as "privilege" but as permanent critique of "the mass institutions that dominate modern life." ("Auerbach" 107)

Mufti emphasizes a concern for and implicit defense of minority cultures, without being enunciated from minority positions, and sees this not as "an accidental concern, such as one might expect from any progressive critical practice, but, rather, a fundamental and constitutive concern, a condition of possibility of the critical practice itself' (96). He elaborates the relationship between critical consciousness and its object of study in Said's term, where displacement plays a role in questioning received notions of "nation, home, community and belonging" (Said qtd. in Mufti, "Auerbach" 103). He states that "the Saidian critical position implies, I shall argue, not a contentless cosmopolitanism but a secularism imbued with the experience of minority--a secularism for which minority is not simply the name of a crisis. Such a rethinking of the meaning of Saidian criticism is, of course, an enormous project" (103). But it is a project worth undertaking since it promises to offer, like the work of Said himself, a fresh way of truly reading the world in "world literature."


(1) This article is based on a contribution to a conference entitled "World Literature In Between" which took place in Istanbul, December 18-20, 2008. When I submitted it for publication in Alif, I received useful suggestions and insightful comments from two anonymous reviewers, one of whom pointed out some major contribution to the debate that took place since its inception. This led to substantial changes and a complete rewriting of some sections. I am grateful to their suggestions and comments.

(2) Jameson's article started a wide debate on how to theorize the literature of the so-called Third World in particular, and how to study that literature in general. The debate started with Aijaz Ahmad's famous "Jameson's Rhetoric of Otherness and the "National Allegory,"' and continued throughout the Third World and the West.

(3) The responses to Franco Moretti's essay are too numerous to list. They include, but are not restricted to: Christopher Prendergast's "Negotiating World Literature" and most of his edited book Debating World Literature-, Francesca Orsini's "Maps of Indian Writing"; Efrain Kristal's "'Considering Coldly ...': A Response to Franco Moretti"; Jonathan Arac's "Anglo-Globalism?'; Emily Apter's "Global Trmslatio: The "Invention" of Comparative Literature, Istanbul, 1933"; Jale Parla's "The Object of Comparison"; Frances Ferguson's "Comparing Literatures: Textualism and Globalism"; Wai Chee Dimock's "Genre and World System: Epic and Novel on Four Continents"; Gayatri Spivak's "World Systems and the Creole" and her discussion of Moretti's distant reading in Death of a Discipline (108); Nirvana Tanoukhi's "The Scale of World Literature"; and Edward Said's Humanism and Democratic Criticism, as well as work by Jonathan Arac, Pascale Casanova, and Andrew Rubin--and the list goes on. In addition, Moretti himself continued the debate in Modern Language Quarterly's Spring 2000 issue, and issues No. 8, 20, 24, 26, 34, and 41 of New Left Review.

(4) For a different and more detailed discussion of these different theories of "world literature," see Mads Rosendahl Thomsen's Mapping World Literature, particularly the first two chapters.

(5) This generation of writers, mostly bom in the 1930s, started writing in the 1960s: Sonallah Ibrahim, Ibrahim Aslan, Bahaa Taher, Muhammad alBisati, Abd al-Hakim Qasim, Yahya al-Tahir Abdallah, Jamil 'Atiyya Ibrahim, and Khayri Shalabi, among others.

(6) See, for example, Rawhi al-Khalidi's Tarikh 'ilm al-adib bccyn al-ifrinj wa l-'Arab; Juijy Zaydan's Tarikh adab al-lugha al-'Arabiyyah\ Qistaki alHimsi's Manhal al-wurradfi 'ilm al-intiqad, and Ahmad Hasan al-Zayyat's Tarikh al-adah al-'Arabi. See also the series of secondary school text-book anthologies Al-muntakhab fi adab al-'Arab compiled under the auspices of Taha Husain between the 1920s and the 1930s.

(7) Arab nations have been subjected to wars and invasions: the Suez war in 1956, the June 1967 defeat, the October 1973 war, the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and occupation of an Arab capital, the 1991 Gulf war, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, to mention only the main ones.

(8) Such as Sara Lawall et al.'s Norton Anthology of World Literature; Paul Davies et al.'s The Beeford Anthology of World Literature', and Mary Ann Caws et al.'s The Harper Collins World Reader.

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Author:Hafez, Sabry
Publication:Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics
Article Type:Essay
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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