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Global Cosmopolitanism: From Modernism to Modern Diaspora

Spiegel, Michael
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Spiegel, Michael
Arata, Stephen
Levenson, Michael
Wicke, Jennifer
“Global Cosmopolitanism: From Modernism to Modern Diaspora” draws European modernism together with contemporary global and postcolonial literature as responses to the same transnational phenomenon that I call “global cosmopolitanism.” While “global cosmopolitanism” has recently become synonymous with economic globalization, I argue that this connotation actually represents the conflation of two once-distinct transnational forces—that of global capitalism (globalization) and that of the individual cross-cultural encounter (cosmopolitanism). Further, I argue that the maintenance of a distinction between these forces explains the aesthetic and thematic affinities between a European modernism represented in Gertrude Stein and James Joyce and a contemporary global and postcolonial literature represented in Salman Rushdie and J.M. Coetzee. The first part of my project, “Modernism,” illustrates how modernists like Stein and Joyce anticipated the global cosmopolitan world we currently inhabit and invented forms to expose its contradictions and resist its realization. The second part, “Modern Diaspora,” argues that, at the other end of the century, writers like Rushdie and Coetzee turned to these forms invented by Stein and Joyce to render their critique of the fully realized global cosmopolitan world. Thus, by reading literary works from both ends of the century, “Global Cosmopolitanism” shows how contemporary conversations about globalization, transnationalism, and cosmopolitanism flow out of a European modernism that continues to shape and inform our global perspective.
University of Virginia, Department of English, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2013
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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