It is surely a mark of some kind of success when a movement begins to be attacked by its own participants. We may recall the surrealist debates of the 1920s, with their rival manifestos, counterblasts, and excommunications, or Roland Barthes's irritated insistence in the mid-1970s that he was not after all a structuralist. Emily Apter's new book suggests that the resurgent study of world literature has achieved a comparable standing today. Herself a leading figure in the opening up of comparative literature toward global perspectives, notably as author of The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (2006), as contributor to several collections on world literature, and as a founding board member of Harvard's Institute for World Literature, Apter is well situated to assess the field from within. In Against World Literature, she offers a bracing critique of the politics of translation in American literary studies. All too often, she...

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