Item Details

Global Mimesis: The Ethics of World Literature After Auerbach

Haley, Madigan
Format
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Author
Haley, Madigan
Advisor
Wicke, Jennifer
Levenson, Michael
Felski, Rita
Abstract
This project argues that the global in the literary is best approached not as a stable content, imposed ideology, or economic byproduct, but rather as an ethos, which has been at stake and emerging over the past half century in literature from around the world. Reading across genres and continents, it shows how writers such as Samuel Beckett, Nuruddin Farah, J. M. Coetzee, Zoë Wicomb, W. G. Sebald, Orhan Pamuk, Teju Cole, and Naomi Wallace have used literary means to imagine collective life beyond the nation, in the process reconceiving literature’s ethical forms (Bildung, allegory, the sentimental). Attending to how these works refigure the horizon and nature of the common at specific historical junctures, this study proposes a conception of the global as emergent within mimesis and reorients ethics away from the encounter with radical alterity toward the performative ways in which texts and objects contour publicity, give exemplary shape to actions and events, and relate audiences to seemingly distant worlds. In this way, “Global Mimesis: The Ethics of World Literature after Auerbach” addresses contemporary world literature’s ability to figure “a common life” not as a process of cultural and political standardization—as Erich Auerbach influentially argued in Mimesis (1946)—but rather as its ethical potential.
Date Received
20140730
Published
University of Virginia, Department of English, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2014
Published Date
2014-07-29
Degree
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Collection
Libra ETD Repository
Logo for In CopyrightIn Copyright

Availability

Read Online