IIT Madras – Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Humanities & Social Sciences

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

World Literature

Course ID
HS 1141

It was almost 200 years ago that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe used the term We Literature or World Literature to describe what he perceived to be the future of literature, in contrast with so called national traditions, which he felt would and should gradually disappear from the firmament.

While we are yet to reach a universally acceptable definition and canon of World Literature, the process of global integration that began in the wake of the industrial revolution and colonial expansion helped literary works and traditions travel beyond linguistic and cultural boundaries creating a space for and opening peoples’ eyes and minds to the Other.

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