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    STUDIA PHILOLOGIA - Issue no. 3 / 2022  

Authors:  SAMAH SELIM.
  Abstract:  DOI: 10.24193/subbphilo.2022.3.09

Available online: 20 September 2022; Available print: 30 September 2022
pp. 53-55



Q: Literary history, be it national, local, or regional, is perhaps the most conservative form of literary study, with many claiming that the method is outmoded. What can literary histories do to overcome both the risk of obsolescence and their inherent conservatism?

A: I don’t think anyone really does traditional, canon-based literary history anymore in the wake of late 20th century post-structuralist and new historicist approaches. In the 21st century there has been a broad move away from national paradigms of literary history towards systems theory and comparativist methodologies that foreground the horizontal circulation of texts across linguistic and/or spatial and temporal borders, and hence work to undermine both the Eurocentrism and elitism embedded in comparative and national literary studies. World literature studies and translation studies have been the fields most implicated in this renovation of literary history. Narratology and comparative poetics offer useful tools for examining the history of traveling genres. Fabulous new collaborative initiatives like OCCT’s Prismatic Translation project deploy the translated work of literature as the productive site of multiple literary histories plotted across diverse geographies, languages and traditions. Moreover, in my own work overall I am very much inclined to agree with critics like Eric Hayot that a concern with the present should frame the way we go about investigating the past.
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