Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
EditorJuvan, Marko
Book TitleSvetovne književnosti in obrobja [World Literatures and Peripheries]
Series TitleStudia litteraria
PublisherZaložba ZRC, ZRC SAZU
ISBN Number978-961-254-398-3
Keywordsperipheral and small literatures, Slovenian literature, world literary system, world literature

World literature is always “glocalized.” Every national literature, every region, migration, and multicultural space has fashioned its own version of world literature. Consequently, many world literatures simultaneously exist within the single and unequal global literary system, “Slovenian” world literature being one of them. Based on Casanova’s and Moretti’s theories of the world literary system/space and, using a transdisciplinary approach, the volume explores the relationships between the world literary system and small or peripheral literary fields: the Slovenian, Estonian, Croatian, Luxembourgish, and Georgian. The first part of the volume offers two incommensurable understandings of world literature: the first stresses the intercultural existence of literature, the free play of semiotic exchange, the importance of border zones, and the singularity of each and every literary work. The second foregrounds material conditions of systemic inequality that determine global cultural flows on the entire planet. Various methods and concepts for exploring world literature are discussed, among them the notions of trajectory, idioculture, and cultural transfer. This last notion allows us to address material, media, institutional, and social factors that had an impact on the global traffic of literature from the Middle Ages to the present. The second section includes case studies discussing two complementary issues: first, what are the means and opportunities for authors from small or peripheral European literatures (from Luxembourgish through Estonian and Croatian to Georgian) to circulate beyond their borders and languages and to enter the space of world literature; and, second, how are repertoires of world literature received, internalized, and perspectivized in such literatures? That is, what “world literatures” do they create? The section is introduced by a theoretical consideration of marginality characterizing not only certain “small” literatures, such as Croatian, but also literary studies itself. The third part focuses on the Slovenian version of world literature, which is understood as another example of relations between a peripheral, relatively young literary system and the broader literary space. The case studies explore in historical detail what, between the sixteenth-century Reformation and twentieth-century Postmodernism, were the modes and functions of reception, translation, cultural transfer, canonization, or intertextual rewriting of literary and cultural repertoires from the globally more established, powerful, and richer traditions. The authors show that Slovenian ethnic territory quite early developed an awareness of broader (predominantly European) cultural space and, although mostly peripheral, strove to be an integral part of transnational intellectual and artistic currents and controversies—not least because of adopting, from the late 1820s onwards, several practices of Goethean Weltliteratur along with the term itself. It is emphasized how difficult it was even for the Slovenian avant-garde authors—who, like their nineteenth-century predecessors, wrote in Slovenian and lacked urban metropolises in their country—to actively participate in transnational networking. The authors of chapters are: César Domínguez, Bala Venkat Mani, Jernej Habjan, Katarina Molk, Jola Škulj, Morana Čale, Jüri Talvet, Jeanne Glesener, Liina Lukas, Irma Ratiani, Alen Širca, Matija Ogrin, Luka Vidmar, Darko Dolinar, Marko Juvan, Marijan Dović, Alenka Koron, Andraž Jež, and Jožica Jožef Beg.

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