The System of World Literature

Few books in the literary humanities today have much of an impact outside their respective fields. Such is the fate of a discipline objectively in crisis. Even so, Pascale Casanova’s recently translated World Republic of Letters (Harvard, 2005) is making quite a mark. An analysis of “the global economy of prestige that ushers some authors into the international literary sphere while keeping others shut out,” Casanova’s study argues that the Parisian cultural establishment gives shape to national literatures far outside its geographical and linguistic purview.