Volume 76, Issue 3 | September 2015

Author Title
Giuseppe Gazzola Return to Tiraboschi: On Italian Literary Canon Formation and National Identity  
In an attempt to recover the processes and priorities that led to re-conceptions of the Italian literary canon, this essay traces the inter-relationship between Italian literary canon formation and different constructions of national identity in the literary histories of Tiraboschi and De Sanctis. It examines both the ruptures and the continuities between eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary historiography, analyzing the political, teleological agenda of De Sanctis’s Storia della letteratura italiana (1870-1871), while simultaneously revealing the equally powerful theoretical underpinnings of Tiraboschi’s vision of the Italian canon. I argue that Tiraboschi’s own Storia della letteratura italiana (1772-1794), because of its precise geographical grounding of literary phenomena, its conceptual proximity to what is now considered cultural studies, and its attention to minority writers, represents a more compelling model for contemporary Italian literary historiography than that of De Sanctis, which was developed for and in a different nationalistic context.
Nico Slate East Indian, West Indian: Colored Cosmopolitanism, World Literature, and the Dual Autobiography of Cedric Dover and Claude McKay  
In June 1951, the dual-autobiography of Claude McKay and Cedric Dover was prepared for publication under the title East Indian / West Indian. The unusual hybrid-autobiography of a Jamaican poet and a Calcutta-born Eurasian scholar aimed to provide, in Dover’s words, “a practical expression of coloured unity.” The history of East Indian / West Indian reveals Dover’s colored cosmopolitanism. Dover aimed to color world literature by connecting “colored” writers across the borders of race and nation. He crafted a transnational literary cannon, grounded in the idea of colored solidarity and explicitly opposed to racism and imperialism. Dover’s commitment to colored cosmopolitanism led him to a stale ventriloquism that was itself a form of colonization. Claiming dominion over Claude McKay’s memories of his childhood and of his native Jamaica, Dover failed to uphold not only the most rudimentary principles of scholarship, but also the best intentions of his colored cosmopolitanism. East Indian / West Indian offers a distinctive vantage point on the history of “world literature” and the challenge of reconciling two of the most significant concepts in contemporary scholarship — the subaltern and the transnational.
Peter Kalliney Modernism, African Literature, and the Cold War  
Modernist concepts, especially aesthetic autonomy, were fundamental to the literature of decolonization in anglophone Africa. An archival examination of Black Orpheus, Transition, the Transcription Centre, and the African Writers of English Expression conference at Makerere in 1962 shows that many African writers were drawn to modernist principles of intellectual freedom and writerly detachment. Figures such as Rajat Neogy, Christopher Okigbo, and Wole Soyinka, all strongly associated with these emerging cultural institutions, repurposed modernist versions of aesthetic autonomy to declare their freedom from colonial bondage, from systems of racial discrimination, and even from the new postcolonial state. In the geopolitical context of the Cold War, modernist forms aesthetic detachment also gave these writers a language of ideological neutrality. The literary histories of modernism and of anglophone African literature became intertwined through avowals of Cold War neutrality from the first generation of postcolonial writers.
Heidi Yu Huang The Hong Kong Dilemma and a Constellation Solution  
For three decades there have been calls for a “locally-produced” history of Hong Kong literature written by scholars born in Hong Kong or long resident there. This essay firstly gives an overview of such a “Hong Kong dilemma” and the scholarly endeavors to meet the three challenges of information selection, historical contextualization, and epistemological configuration. Then it discusses the merits and limits of the three existent analytical perspectives and proposes the paradigmatic image of the constellation to situate Hong Kong literary history more suitably in the multiple dimensions of world literary space. In conclusion the essay recommends the constellation paradigm for an effective history that strikes connections beyond binarisms like East and West, Mainland China and Hong Kong, or center and periphery.
Author Title
Ellwood Wiggins Review of John T. Hamilton Security: Politics, Humanity, and the Philology of Care
David Mikics Review of David Rosen and Aaron Santesso, The Watchmen in Pieces: Surveillance, Literature, and Liberal Personhood
Paul Giles Review of Lawrence Buell, The Dream of the Great American Novel
Thomas Lockwood Review of Paula Backsheider, Elizabeth Singer Rowe and the Development of the English Novel
Mary Loeffelholz Review of Simon Gikandi, Slavery and the Culture of Taste

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