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Download All the Difference in the World: Postcoloniality and the by Natalie Melas PDF

By Natalie Melas

This publication is ready tradition and comparability. beginning with the background of the self-discipline of comparative literature and its forgotten relation to the positivist comparative procedure, it inquires into the belief of comparability in a postcolonial international. comparability used to be Eurocentric by means of exclusion whilst it utilized merely to eu literature, and Eurocentric by means of discrimination whilst it tailored evolutionary versions to put eu literature on the leading edge of human improvement. This publication argues that inclusiveness isn't a enough reaction to postcolonial and multiculturalist demanding situations since it leaves the foundation of equivalence unquestioned. the purpose isn't just to convey extra items lower than comparability, yet really to check the method of comparability. The ebook deals a brand new method of the either/or of relativism and universalism, within which comparability is both very unlikely or assimilatory, through focusing as an alternative on numerous kinds of “incommensurability”—comparisons within which there's a floor for comparability yet no foundation for equivalence. each one bankruptcy develops a selected type of such cultural comparability from readings of vital novelists (Joseph Conrad, Simone Schwartz-Bart), poets (Aimé Césaire, Derek Walcott), and theorists (Edouard Glissant, Jean-Luc Nancy).

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Because Russian literature took less than a century to gallop the path from Pushkin and Gogol to Chekhov and Blok and show the world Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, it kept its innocence, confusing genius with ambition, license with liberty, talent with profession, and valuing the nature of the word over genre, emotion over character, idea over plot, the pattern rather than the product. At the end of that hundred years the revolution took place and plunged our literature back into the position of being young.

But chronological adjustment, what one could call vertical translation, is, in fact, wholly accepted only in the case of stage adaptations or children’s versions. Goethe is seldom translated into German. Honesty compels me to state that it is not usually the writers and poets who provide the necessary changes. They are nostalgic by temperament, tragic figures that have made a profession of the battle against the advance of time. No, the dirty work of language renewal is done in the street, by ordinary people who have other things to think about than pinning down meanings.

Whatever the case, in liberating herself from the Tatars, Russia moved Eastward at a speed suggesting that we meant to eliminate Asia as a geographical concept and annex it to Europe. We came to our senses only in California: it turned out we had fled Europe. Russia all but drowned in her space in the East, and she has sought friends in Europe ever since. She does this in a peculiar 42 WRITING EUROPE way, albeit no less sincerely than Anacharsis the Scythian. Europe is small, and Peter is Great.

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