Pieter VanhoveOct 4, 2021
World Literature After Empire
Rethinking Universality in the Long Cold War
Pieter Vanhove’s World Literature After Empire: Rethinking Universality in the Long Cold War (2021), engages with the idea of ‘world’ as it manifests in literary and philosophical studies. Taking an interdisciplinary and multilingual approach, Vanhove centers his discussion on literature and the arts, while drawing an important historical tableau of the Cold War that highlights the ways in which decolonization processes facilitated a multiplicity of ways to think of the ‘world’. His book engages at length with debates on world literature, postcolonial thought, and translation. In order to show the complex political and cultural tapestry of the Cold War, Vanhove engages in case studies on China and the Afro-Asian Writer’s Bureau, Alberto Moravia and PEN International, Antonio Gramsci and Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jean-Paul Sartre and Patrice Lulumba, André Malraux, and Huang Yong Ping. In so doing, the Vanhove demonstrates how artists during the Cold War engaged in cultural discourse that was anti-imperialist, and whose questions centered on issues of race, sexuality, gender, and class. Vanhove’s book argues for a process of deconstruction of the Eurocentric conception of the world, for a closer engagement with conceptions of the world in various contexts during the Cold War, and ultimately for using tools of deconstruction to “do justice to the untranslatability of cultural artifacts that call into question the logic of universalization.”
Pieter Vanhove is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Cultures at Lancaster University. He holds a PhD in Italian and Comparative Literature from Columnia University. Vanhove’s publications include articles in Critical Asian Studies, estetica: studi e ricerche, Senses of Cinema, and Studi pasoliniani.
Eralda Lameborshi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University Commerce. Her areas of research include world literature and cinema, Southeast European studies, Ottoman studies, postcolonial theory, and the global novel.