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The Global Novel

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Organizer: Neus Rotger

Co-Organizer: Marta Puxan-Oliva

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Focusing on poetics as much as on questions of genre theory and cultural history, this panel seeks to look critically at the current upsurge of interest in the so-called global novel (Siskind 2010; Beecroft 2015, 2016; Hoyos 2015; Habjan and Imlinger 2016, Kirsch 2016) and further the discussion on the need and reach of this still loose concept. The “global turn,” together with the new conceptions of time and space in narrative studies, set the grounds for a renewed approach to the novel and its relation to the historical and cultural process of globalization. On this basis, we identify three interrelated points of reflection that we propose to address in the seminar:

1. Global markets, cosmopolitanism, and the explosion of the canon. How and since when is the novel paradigmatically “global”? Which are the institutional and economic mechanisms for its increasingly global circulation and consumption? Does the geographical expansion of the novel at a world scale imply a new—more cosmopolitan—ethical and political frame? What is the impact of the genre in the conflicted and unequal literary relations within the “world literary system” and a globalized canon? Is the global novel the most suitable genre to comply with or respond to global conflicts such as environmental crisis, drug or human trafficking, terrorism, or migration?

2. Global tropes, forms, and plots. What literary works qualify as global novels and why? How global is the world imagined by the global novel? How does the novel engage with global concerns in terms of content and form? Can we identify tropes, forms, specific uses of plot, time, space, and language, or other narrative strategies characteristic of the global novel? Do they suffice to build a working definition, or even a poetics, of the genre? If so, how does it relate to other genres?

3. The global novel in theory. What are the uses of the global novel in theory? Does the “global novel” mean the same and have the same critical implications in, for example, Postcolonial Studies, Translation Studies, and Ecocriticism? How can the global novel help us develop new perspectives in literary analysis? How could it be problematic? What does it tell us about the global anxieties of literary studies? 

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