Value and Canonicity : The Making of World Literature

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review

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Author(s)

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterature and Interculturality (2)
Subtitle of host publicationValuations, Identifications, Dialogues
EditorsMichael Steppat, Steve J. Kulish
Place of PublicationShanghai
PublisherShanghai Foreign Language Education Press
Chapter1
Pages21-32
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978 7 5446 6630 5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Publication series

NameIntercultural Research = 跨文化研究
PublisherShanghai Foreign Language Education Press
Volume9

Abstract

The author argues that literary canon formation depends on value judgement, considering that a canon embodies and transmits values that are basic for any particular cultural tradition and is hence significant for a particular community. This can be traced in the Chinese heritage, which would be unthinkable without the concept of wen 文 (letters or the written language) that has been a strong cohesive force for a sense of Chinese cultural identity. Basic cultural values constitute the source of the resilience and tenacity of the canonical. The postmodernist West with its critique of all hierarchies and power relationships, metaphysical and otherwise, sometimes appears as a society in which everyone “knows the price of everything but the value of nothing” (Oscar Wilde). Fredric Jameson rightly diagnoses a postmodernist weakening of historicity as a consequence. But to argue for the irrelevance of value judgement easily amounts to presenting another value with a political position as superior to other positions, which only proves that no argument can be valueless. The rise of world literature studies provides an opportunity to rethink the importance of canonicity, and to reassess works of non-Western literatures and also of “minor” European traditions which have remained too little known, and thus bringing those yet-unknown works to a global audience in an intercultural framework constitutes the making of world literature.

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Information for this record is supplemented by the author(s) concerned.

Citation Format(s)

Value and Canonicity : The Making of World Literature. / Zhang, Longxi.

Literature and Interculturality (2): Valuations, Identifications, Dialogues. ed. / Michael Steppat; Steve J. Kulish. Shanghai : Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2021. p. 21-32 (Intercultural Research = 跨文化研究; Vol. 9).

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review