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Orsini, Francesca (2024) 'Against minoritization: five strategies for world literature.' Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. pp. 1-19. (Forthcoming)

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This essay reflects on the paradox of how the twenty-first-century opening up of comparative literature to non-Western literatures under the aegis of world literature has coincided with the age of global Anglophone and the virtual minoritization of all non-Anglophone literatures. This is a remarkably different outcome from earlier globalized conjunctures – of orientalism and empire, or decolonization and the Cold War. This essay argues that a comparison with the dynamics of those earlier moments can bring into relief the difference of the current Anglocentric position – a position that assumes that anything not already visible in English is probably not worth knowing. The second half of the essay moves beyond a comparative critique of these practices of invisibilization and illustrates five of the many ways of looking at the minor that are at the heart of this special issue. These are: the cultivation of an attitude of curiosity and a sense of unknowing; a robust use of the traditionally disparaged practice of indirect translations; a strong and explicitly avowed political interest; the cultivation of a multilingual sensibility; and, lastly, the active signalling of literary works and worlds beyond English in Anglophone works. This last practice goes beyond exhibiting traces of other languages, either explicitly or implicitly. The essay develops one example of Anglophone world literature that does not minoritize other literatures and in that way cuts across traditional vertical accounts of the relation between major and minor: the writings of English and Urdu writer Aamer Hussein, which actively works in traces and references to other language texts and traditions, and features characters who live across language worlds and are nourished by different literary traditions. By discussing alternative modes of reading, translation, circulation, and writing, the essay explores the interplay between critical and aesthetic discourses of minority.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: global Anglo, phoneminor literatures, multilingualism, relay translation, world literature
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISSN: 1369801X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2024 08:16

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