What Is a World?: On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature
Pheng Cheah is Professor of Rhetoric and Chair of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of
Worlding: The Phenomenological Concept of Worldliness and the Loss of World in Modernity
This chapter is a critical reconstruction of Heidegger’s theory of world and its ontological connection to temporality and transcendence. It elaborates on his rejection of widely accepted understandings of the world as objective presence, as the sphere created by intercourse among subjects, and his critique of geographical concepts of world and the spiritualist and materialist teleologies of Goethe, Hegel, and Marx. The chapter then examines in greater detail his argument that radically finite temporality is a force of worlding and considers its implications for understanding modern worldlessness. It then elaborates on the role of poetry and art in maintaining worldliness.
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