On Literary Worlds

Research output: Book/ReportBook

165 Scopus citations


Though literature is not a technology, the historical models literary scholars use to describe literary history owe a great deal to the languages of originality, novelty, progress, and invention that form the core of the idea of technological development. No real surprise: putting progress at the center of historicity is one of the things that makes us modern. But if you think like a modern person then it's very hard to ever really make a good case for why someone interested in the history of modern literary aesthetics ought to read the literature of the non-Western world. This book makes that case. It does so by rethinking from the ground up our concepts of literary history and progress, redescribing the history we know (or think we know) in a new language that requires us to be far more worldly and global in our arguments about literary change. To do, so, the book begins with an argument that literature is a world-creating activity. Connecting the cosmographical imagination to the historical shifts in world-view caused by the Columbian discoveries and Copernican revolutions, the book shows how the very notion of the modern is, at heart, a cosmographical social form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages214
ISBN (Electronic)9780199980499
ISBN (Print)9780199926695
StatePublished - Nov 5 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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