Walkowitz argues in this essay that we need to understand more flexibly both the production and the circulation of world literature, inasmuch as some literary works begin comparatively and collaboratively, in multiple language editions and in several geographies at once or nearly at once, and artworks address the world in different ways and in different temporalities. This essay approaches these concerns by turning to the born-translated oeuvre of the collaborative web artists known as Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries. Young-hae Chang and Marc Voge’s works are born-translated, first, because they appear simultaneously in multiple languages and, second, because they engage formally, thematically, and typographically with the theory and practice of translation. Chang and Voge help us think about the relationship between modernism and world literature. They show that the reading methods we bring to born-translated writing are symbiotic with dominant accounts of modernism, and they give us the opportunity to develop new methods and new approaches to literary history.
Rebecca L. Walkowitz; Close Reading in an Age of Global Writing. Modern Language Quarterly 1 June 2013; 74 (2): 171–195. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-2072980
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