Unlike in the mid-twentieth century, when circulation of literature in the world was primarily considered to be a prerogative of readers in affluent parts of the world, today the circulation is multi-directional, multi-dimensional, and multi-lingual. Ours is an exciting time for “world literature”!
B. Venkat Mani
Who defines world literature? Is it the author of the text that leaves its point of origin to find space on a bookshelf—physical or digital—in a far away part of the world? Is it the translator, the initiator of textual migration? And how does the reader, who determines whether a text keeps the promise it makes—that is, giving a glimpse of the far away world of its origin—define world literature?
Beyond the author and the translator, a very large number of actors determine a reader’s access to literary works. If the author and the reader were to be tentatively imagined in a producer-consumer relationship, one could see that there is an entire set of mediators, representing several institutions, who enable the distribution and circulation of a literary artifact for a worldwide readership: publisher, bookseller (or online vendor), librarian, magazine editor, literary critic, literary agent, book-festival organizer, the…
View original post 1,433 more words