Aamir Mufti scrutinizes world literature, arguing that in its borderless, global body of writings remains a dominant, expansive English.


Genre: Books, Scholarship.

Full Title: Forget English!: Orientalisms and World Literatures.

Author: Aamir R. Mufti, Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Publisher: Harvard University Press.

Place: Cambridge, MA.


Synopsis: The idea of world literature has garnered much attention recently as a discipline that promises to move humanistic study beyond postcolonial theory and antiquated paradigms of “national” literary traditions. In Forget English! Aamir Mufti scrutinizes the claims made on behalf of world literature by its advocates. The notion of a borderless, egalitarian global literature has obvious appeal, he notes, but behind it lurks the continuing dominance of English as a literary language and a cultural system of international reach.

Mufti explores how English historically achieved its literary preeminence, and he deepens our understanding of how the hegemony of English affects non-European languages — particularly those of India and South Asia — as vessels of literary expression. The result is a study that persuasively argues that at the center of the very possibility of world literature remains the dominance of English, as both a literary vernacular and the undisputed language of global capitalism.

For more, see the book’s publication site at Harvard University Press.

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