This article examines several recent theorizations of the concept “world” from within or in proximity to the field of world literature, and argues that these theorizations all suffer from a missed engagement with the work of Jean-Luc Nancy, the most important contemporary thinker of the concept. Focusing on recent books by Emily Apter, Debjani Ganguly, and Pheng Cheah, this article argues that while these theorists all make reference to Nancy, they do so in ways that miss essential aspects of his thinking. The article argues that the theoretical frameworks put forth by these thinkers prevent them from engaging with what Nancy called the “sense of the world.” The article concludes with a reflection on the place of joy in the text of Nancy to which all three of these thinkers make reference: The Creation of the World or Globalization.

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