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Entrada seta Actividades seta 2010-2007 seta David Damrosch (Columbia University)

David Damrosch (Columbia University)

After Exile: Comparative Literature in the Twenty-first Century
Data: 10:00 - 16 de Dezembro de 2008
Local: Sala 5.2. Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa

B.A., Yale (1975); Ph.D., Yale (1980). A specialist in modern literature, Professor Damrosch is also interested in narrative theory, hermeneutics, ancient literature, and the Bible. He is the author of The Narrative Covenant: Transformations of Genre in the Growth of Biblical Literature (Harper and Row, 1987; Cornell, 1991); We Scholars: Changing the Culture of the University (Harvard UP, 1995); a study of academic culture, Meetings of the Mind; What Is World Literature? (Princeton UP, 2003); and articles on Freud, Kenneth Burke, Kleist, Wordsworth, Norse sagas, Bernard of Clarivaux, and Aztec poetry. He is general editor of The Longman Anthology of British Literature and of The Longman Anthology of World Literature (2004). For 2001-2003 he was President of the American Comparative Literature Association.



Travel, migration, and exile are issues that have not only been studied by comparatists but have often been embodied by them as well. Over the years, many leading figures in Comparative Literature have been émigrés or outright exiles at critical periods of their lives, from Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett and Georg Brandes in the nineteenth century, to Leo Spitzer and Erich Auerbach in the mid-twentieth century, to Franco Moretti and Gayatri Spivak today. Our discipline as a whole can be said to have taken on an exilic or migratory cast of mind, embodied in mid-century statements by Auerbach, Spitzer, and Wellek on the ambiguous benefits of exile and still seen today in Gayatri Spivak’s planetary perspective and Franco Moretti’s championing of distant reading. This exilic perspective fostered a close attention to literature’s border-crossing qualities, and underwrote a liberal internationalism resolutely opposed to the jingoism and parochialism of the nationalist heresy, in a phrase of the émigré comparatist Werner Friederich in 1960. Yet nations have not withered away after all, and many comparatists are themselves lifelong members of a nation-state. This talk will explore the possibilities for a postexilic Comparative Literature as practiced by rooted rather than rootless cosmopolitans in a globalizing age.



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