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Wither Production?

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image of Historical Materialism

The argument that Against World Literature makes about why we might perceive translation as a form of anti-capitalist or ‘deowned’ property does not jibe with basic features of the material organisation of the publishing industry and the intellectual-property regime on which it depends. While it is perhaps unfair to expect everyone to be a cultural materialist or literary sociologist, I point out a number of features of the organisation of the World Literature industry that trouble Apter’s arguments about the anti-capitalist implications of our recognition of the untranslatable. Ultimately ownership is not a matter of perception, and non-owned literature, like non-alienated literary labour, cannot exist under capitalism. These circumstances will not change in the absence of some fundamental reorientation of the class dynamics of writing, publishing, and reading. To deown literature, the whole material constitution of the industry would have to be abolished and replaced with something else.

Affiliations: 1: Carleton University Ontario sarah_brouillette@carleton.ca

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1. Apter Emily The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature 2005 Princeton Princeton University Press
2. Brennan Timothy "‘Cosmopolitans and Celebrities’" Race & Class 1989 Vol 31 1 19 [Crossref]
3. Brouillette Sarah Postcolonial Writers in the Global Literary Marketplace 2007 Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan [Crossref]
4. Casanova Pascale DeBevoise M.B. The World Republic of Letters 2004 [1999] Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press
5. Cassin Barbara Vocabulaire européen des philosophies: Dictionnaire des intraduisibles 2004 Paris Éditions du Seuil
6. Damrosch David What Is World Literature? 2003 Princeton Princeton University Press
7. Griswold Wendy Regionalism and the Reading Class 2008 Chicago University of Chicago Press [Crossref]
8. Hemmungs Wirtén Eva No Trespassing: Authorship, Intellectual Property Rights, and the Boundaries of Globalization 2004 Toronto University of Toronto Press
9. Huggan Graham The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins 2001 London Routledge. [Crossref]
10. Marx Karl Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume One 1992 [1867] Harmondsworth Penguin Books
11. Marx Karl , Engels Friedrich Moore Samuel The Communist Manifesto 1967 [1848] Harmondsworth Penguin
12. Moretti Franco "‘Conjectures on World Literature’" New Left Review 2000 Vol II 1 54 68
13. Pollack Sarah "‘Latin America Translated (Again): Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives in the United States’" Comparative Literature 2009 Vol 61 3 346 365 [Crossref]
14. Sánchez Prado Ignacio "‘ “Hijos de Metapa”: Un recorrido conceptual de la literatura mundial’" Intermitencias americanistas. Estudios y ensayos escogidos (2004–2010) 2012 México Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Coordinación de Difusión Cultural, Dirección de Literatura
15. Watts Richard Packaging Post/Coloniality: The Manufacture of Literary Identity in the Francophone World 2005 Lanham, MD Lexington Books
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/content/journals/10.1163/1569206x-12341440
2015-11-27
2017-11-18

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