Spring 2015 Lecture Series

What Was World Literature? Early Modern Theories of Translation and the German Language

Bethany Wiggin
March 11, 2015
4:30 – 6:00 pm
205 East Pyne
Antique map of world

This lecture invites exploration of what we mean when we ask “What Is World Literature?” Returning to the suggestive definition offered by David Damrosch (world literature is “literature that gains in translation”), I probe different modes of translation into German, beginning with the late Goethe and moving backward in time. Drawing on examples from Opitz, Luther, Steinhoewel, et al, this lecture asks how we might conceive of world literature before global modernity and why today we might wish to do so.