World Literature and the Culture of Texts

7 May 2020
Graduate Symposium at Stockholm University

*NB. In light of the current situation with covid-19, the symposium will take place online.*

Zoom Invitation: Join Zoom Meeting
Programme: World Literature and the Culture of Texts

“[…] a text in its being a text is a being in the world” (1)

World Literature continues to raise “considerable perplexities” (2) and remains “notoriously difficult to define.” (3) While consensus has it that it is a slippery, unstable term, its basic component is unquestionably textual. The debate about World Literature is a debate about the shape of its textuality. As Michael Holquist has pointed out, “World Literature is not a canon of particular texts, but rather a mode of reading, so is philology.” (4) Working through the how of World Literature, scholars are constantly re-visiting their methods and theoretical perspectives in order to explore the movements texts make in the world.

With its dual focus on textuality and cross-cultural comparison, this symposium on world literatures aims at providing interdisciplinary, critical and exploratory responses to questions such as: What is a text? What happens when texts are remediated, edited, relocated or translated? What methods are available for textual study? How can textual theory, translation studies, and theories of world literature illuminate one another?

The symposium, which will take place at Stockholm University on 7-8 May 2020, will conclude the two-year theme World Literatures and the Culture of Texts, held by the Doctoral School in the Humanities at Stockholm University (see The idea is to bring together doctoral students from across the disciplines in order to examine world literary texts in transition.

Keynote speaker at the Symposium will be Efraín Kristal (UCLA). Efraín Kristal specializes in Latin American literature, especially the authorships of Mario Vargas Llosa and Jorge Luis Borges, and works with comparative contexts, translation studies, and aesthetics.


Organizing committee:

Louise Faymonville
Anna Finozzi
Jonathan Foster
Jana Rüegg
Joanna Woods


(1) Edward Said, “The Text, The World, The Critic” The Bulletin of the Midwest Modern Language Association, 8 (2), 1975, pp. 1-23.
(2) David Damrosch et al (eds), The Routledge Companion to World Literatures, (Routledge, 2012).
(3) Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, Mapping World Literature. International Canonization and Transnational Literatures, (Bloomsbury, 2008). 2.
(4)  “The place of philology in an age of world literature”, Neohelicon, 38 (2), 2011, pp 267–287. 284.

Call for papers

written by Alice Duhan
23 January, 2020