"Reimagining Ethics through World Literature."

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-3835-8003
Howard, Christian, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Levenson, Michael, PV-International Studies, University of Virginia

“Reimagining Ethics through World Literature,” examines world literature as a site of ethical exchange that cuts across cultures, political groups, and historical and national boundaries. Because global narratives – or more specifically, works of world literature – embodies diverse cultural, political, and ideological views, it acts as an extreme or radical example of transcultural exchange. “Reimagining Ethics through World Literature” thus proposes that both writer and reader are participating in ethical activities through the production, reception, and interpretation of narrative. “Reimagining Ethics” is divided into three primary chapters, each of which explores an important ethical issue associated with world literature. The first analyzes J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello in order to establish that ethics is an act bound up with the imaginative process. The second chapter uses W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants to investigate how the material construction of texts alters the reading codes that shape our translations of history and memory. In the final chapter, I relate radical translation to digital writing practices by examining how contemporary writers appropriate political capital through social media, reaching an online community that transcends national borders. This chapter uses the Twitter stories of Teju Cole as exemplar; these stories address topics such as drone strikes and immigration and suggest the political power provided by alternative publishing platforms.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
world literature, ethics, translation
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