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Walter Cohen Job Talk


English Literature, European Literature, World Literature

What do world literature and European literature have to tell us about English literature?   And what does English literature have to tell us about European and world literature?  In pursuing these questions, I provide a historical overview, identifying two overlapping temporal arcs.  The first, stretching from the 7th to the 18thcentury, sees the emergence of multiple vernaculars in the Old World, out of high-cultural, cosmopolitan, often Classical literary languages.  The second, beginning in the 15th century and extending to the present, witnesses the emergence of a systematically global literature.  I conclude by summarizing the findings that emerge from that overview, the methodological assumptions that inform it, and the disciplinary contexts that bear on it.  I will focus on matters of form at the expense of theme.  In the first arc, form is understood as language and literary languagein the second, more conventionally as standard genres and subgenres.  But the argument operates at multiple levels throughout—from versification through literary genres, to language, religion, and history more generally.

Start Time: 12/2/2013  4:00 PM
Location: 3222 AH
Contact: karlyjm@umich.edu
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