Literary Worlds

Eric Hayot

in On Literary Worlds

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199926695
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980499 | DOI:
Literary Worlds

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter discusses the common use of the term “world” in literary studies that speaks to the relation between literature and worlds, and has nothing to do with world-systems or world literature. We speak of “Balzac's world,” or “Hawthorne's world,” or “Rushdie's world” in ways that rely on two fairly conventional understandings of the word, neither of which is captured by the current world literature debates. In one use the word names the general social and historical space within which an author lived and worked. In its other use the phrase means something like the unity of form, diegesis, and feeling composed by the rough totality of a work: the world of the work of art.

Keywords: world; work; literature; Hawthorne; Balzac; Rushdie

Chapter.  2313 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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