World literature
World literature refers to literature from all over the world, including African literature
African literature
African literature refers to literature of and from Africa. As George Joseph notes on the first page of his chapter on African literature in Understanding Contemporary Africa, while the European perception of literature generally refers to written letters, the African concept includes oral...

, American literature
American literature
American literature is the written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and its preceding colonies. For more specific discussions of poetry and theater, see Poetry of the United States and Theater in the United States. During its early history, America was a series of British...

, Arabic literature
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

, Asian literature
Asian literature
-Examples:*East Asian literature**Chinese literature**Japanese literature**Korean literature*Central Asian literature**Bengali literature**Indian literature**Pakistani literature**Tamil literature*West Asian literature**Arabic literature...

, Australasian literature
Australasian literature
Australasian literature is an umbrella term for the literary production of Australasian countries:* Australian literature* Literature of New Zealand...

, Caribbean Literature, English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

, European literature
European literature
European literature refers to the literature of Europe.European literature includes literature in many languages; among the most important of the modern written works are those in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Polish, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Czech and Russian and works by the...

, Indian literature
Indian literature
Indian literature refers to the literature produced on the Indian subcontinent until 1947 and in the Republic of India thereafter. The Republic of India has 22 officially recognized languages....

, Latin American literature
Latin American literature
Latin American literature consists of the oral and written literature of Latin America in several languages, particularly in Spanish, Portuguese, and indigenous languages of the Americas. It rose to particular prominence globally during the second half of the 20th century, largely due to the...

, Persian literature
Persian literature
Persian literature spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language...

, and Russian literature
Russian literature
Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union...



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

 introduced the concept of Weltliteratur in 1827 to describe the growing availability of texts from other nations, including translations from Sanskrit
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

, Islamic
Islamic literature
Islamic literature is literature written with an Islamic perspective, in any language.The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights , which was a compilation of many earlier folk tales told by the Persian Queen Scheherazade...

 and Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

n epic poetry
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

. Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

 used the term in their Communist Manifesto (1848) to describe the "cosmopolitan character" of bourgeois literary production.

Although anthologies of "world literature" have often used the term to market a largely European canon, the past three decades have given rise to a much more expansive conception of literary interest and value. Recent books such as David Damrosch's What Is World Literature?, for instance, define world literature as a category of literary production, publication and circulation, rather than using the term evaluatively. Arguably, this is closer to the original sense of the term in Goethe and Marx.

World literature is conceptually similar to world cinema
World cinema
World cinema is a term used primarily in English language speaking countries to refer to the films and film industries of non-English speaking countries. It is therefore often used interchangeably with the term foreign film...

, world art, world history
World History
World History, Global History or Transnational history is a field of historical study that emerged as a distinct academic field in the 1980s. It examines history from a global perspective...

 and world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...


See also

  • Classic book
    Classic book
    A classic book is a book accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy, either through an imprimatur such as being listed in any of the Western canons or through a reader's own personal opinion. The term itself is closely related to Western Canon and to various college/university Senior Comprehensive...

  • Comparative literature
    Comparative literature
    Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups...

  • List of notable 20th-century writers
  • Literature by country
    Literature by country
    This is a list of literature, categorized by country, language, or cultural group.* Western literature...

  • List of world folk-epics
  • History of literature
    History of literature
    The history of literature is the historical development of writings in prose or poetry which attempts to provide entertainment, enlightenment, or instruction to the reader/hearer/observer, as well as the development of the literary techniques used in the communication of these pieces. Not all...

  • Print culture
    Print culture
    Print culture embodies all forms of printed text and other printed forms of visual communication. One prominent scholar in the field is Elizabeth Eisenstein, who contrasted print culture, which appeared in Europe in the centuries after the advent of the Western printing-press , to scribal culture...

  • Translation
    Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of...

  • takla,bulus,tilis

Further reading

  • The Norton Anthology of World Literature, 6 vols., second edition, 2001-2003.
  • David Damrosch, What Is World Literature?, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.
  • Jerome Rothenberg & Pierre Joris (editors), Poems for the Millennium: a Global Anthology of Modern & Postmodern Poetry, Berkeley: University of California Press, two vols., 1995, 1998.
  • Pascale Casanova, World Republic of Letters, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • Christopher Prendergast (ed.), Debating World Literature, London: Verso, 2004.
  • John Pizer, The Idea of World Literature: History and Pedagogical Practice, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.