“World literature is Orientalism, it is inseparable from it,” remarked Aamir R. Mufti in an interview in 2016. It is a provocative claim: after all, wasn’t world literature supposed to overcome Orientalism, triumphantly declaring a united literature of the world? In Forget English! Orientalism and World Literatures, Mufti demonstrates how “a genealogy of world literature leads to Orientalism” and that this is “a fact that the contemporary discussion appears by its very nature to be incapable of recognizing” (19). In order to analyze this “mutual entanglement of Orientalism and world literature” (30), Mufti revisits Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978). This book had long ago entered the English studies curriculum, and its main idea had been widely discussed, critically processed, and transformed to better suit the needs of contemporary postcolonial studies and world literature. Yet Mufti suggests that it “remains still a...
Forget English! Orientalism and World Literatures by Aamir R. Mufti
Františka Zezuláková Schormová is a doctoral student at Charles University in Prague and a Fulbright visiting researcher and fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Euroasian Studies at Harvard University. Her work focuses on cultural exchange across the Iron Curtain in the 1950s and early 1960s, and on translations and transnational readings of African American poetry.
Františka Zezuláková Schormová; Forget English! Orientalism and World Literatures by Aamir R. Mufti. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 June 2018; 64 (2): 259–264. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-6941939
Download citation file: