Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature

Comparative Literature and the Historical Imaginary

Reading Conrad, Weiss, Sebald

Authors: Kaakinen, Kaisa

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  • Provides a new model for how to read comparativelyTakes into account the heterogeneity of our current, globalised reading context
  • Opens up new discussions about the future legibility of historical narration in literary texts
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eBook 74,96 €
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-51820-6
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Hardcover 89,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-51819-0
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover 89,99 €
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-84749-8
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book argues that increasingly transnational reading contexts of the twenty-first century place new pressures on fundamental questions about how we read literary fiction. Prompted by the stylistic strategies of three European émigré writers of the twentieth century — Conrad, Weiss and Sebald — it demonstrates the need to pose more differentiated questions about specific effects that occur when literary narratives meet a readership with a heterogeneous historical imaginary. In conversation with reception theory, trauma theory and transnational and postcolonial studies, the study shows how historical pressures in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries require comparative literature to address not only implied but also various unimplied reading positions that engage history in displaced yet material ways. This book opens new analytical paths for thinking about literary texts as media of historical imagination and conceiving relations between incommensurable historical events and contexts. Challenging overly global and overly local readings alike, the book presents a sophisticated contribution to discussions on how to reform the discipline of comparative literature in the twenty-first century.

About the authors

Kaisa Kaakinen works as postdoctoral researcher in comparative literature at University of Turku, Finland. She completed her doctoral degree in comparative literature at Cornell University, USA, in 2013 and conducted dissertation research at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. Her publications deal with twentieth and twenty-first-century literature and the intersections of literature and history, and she has taught comparative literature at Cornell University, University of Helsinki and University of Turku.

Reviews

“Kaisa Kaakinen’s book is a major contribution to the contemporary debates on comparability and incommensurability of world literature. In making a strong case for weak analogies, it develops a model for studying active audiences and heterogeneous historically situated reading positions in contemporary transnational modes of historical narration. Over and above the skillful, complex and imaginative analyses of various textual strategies for making historical comparisons in Conrad, Weiss and Sebald, the book powerfully performs its own weak analogies by bringing together authors as diverse as these in a new and compelling way.” (Eneken Laanes, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Tallinn University, Estonia)

“Kaisa Kaakinen’s study forcefully contributes to the critical task of reconceptualizing practices of comparison for our age of increasing global connection along with inequality and violence. The well-chosen author trio of Weiss, Conrad, and Sebald allows Kaakinen to intertwine postcolonial paradigms with the field of transnational European literature, and to deploy twentieth-century texts towards a theory of reading for our world today. What happens, Kaakinen asks brilliantly, when a modernist poetics of gaps and ‘weak analogies’ meets heterogeneous―implied, unimplied, and unwelcome―audiences?  In the interplay of connection across contexts with historical anchoring, these exciting readings demonstrate, the encounter unleashes a multidirectional imagination probing past and future relatedness.” (Claudia Breger, Professor of Germanic Studies, Indiana University Bloomington, USA)

“This is a major intervention into comparative methodologies, theories of transnational relations, and discussions about the future legibility of historical narration in literary texts. Kaakinen’s theory of weak analogies, as well as her development of the significance of the “overhearing” reader (the one who overhears conversations not directly addressed to the reader), will undoubtedly influence comparative literature scholars to come.” (David Kelman, Associate Professor, California State University, Fullerton, USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 74,96 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-51820-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 89,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-51819-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover 89,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-84749-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Comparative Literature and the Historical Imaginary
Book Subtitle
Reading Conrad, Weiss, Sebald
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-51820-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-51820-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-51819-0
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-84749-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 261
Topics