Author: J. Miller
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  • 1 Departments of Comparative Literature and English, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
  • 2 697 Sunshine Road, Deer Isle, ME 04627, USA
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Abstract  

World Literature’s time has come again in the current development of a new discipline of World Literature suitable for a time of globalization. The new disciple faces some challenges: the challenge of translation, the challenge of what literary works to choose as representative, the challenge of making a universal definition of “literature.” The thought experiment of imagining what commentary you would need to put with a translation into Chinese of W. B. Yeats’s lyric, “The Cold Heaven,” exemplifies these problems. Explaining the reasons for Friedrich Nietzsche’s rejection of Goethe’s Weltliteratur, in The Birth of Tragedy, is, when that rejection is put into the context of The Birth of Tragedy as a whole and of other writing by Nietzsche, a good example of the theoretical problems that the renewed discipline of World Literature may need to take into account.

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