Multilingual World Literature podcast series of MULOSIGE seminars, workshops and interviews.
Postcolonial Print Cultures Conference: Tambimuttu and Sivanandan: Cold-War America and International Socialism.
Tambimuttu and Sivanandan: Cold-War America and International Socialism Dr Ruvani Ranasinha (Kings College London) considers and contrasts the political positions and self-fashioning adopted during the careers of two mid-century Sri Lankan writers. Ranasinha recounts Tambimuttu’s self-stereotyping of the sensual Orient, first with his move to the UK in 1938, and later in terms of his reception among beatnik authors during the 1952-1958 period, when he lived in the
Laetitia Zecchini discusses the politics of literary translation and publication, particularly surrounding the journal Quest funded by the International Council for Cultural Freedom, itself backed by the CIA. She examined the editor Nissim Ezekiel’s own positions and motivations, noting that for him Quest’s purpose was the create the conditions in which the magazine would provide the freedom to debate, argue, and hold different theoretical positions, creating a space of cultural independence which could in turn realise political independence.
Professor Francesca Orsini (SOAS), examines the production and re-production of short stories in Hindi literary magazines in the 1950s, offering a case study of the Hindi magazine Kahani (Short Story, 1954). She argues that world literature can only be envisioned and produced through local views, rather than under one overarching banner of what constitutes “world literature.” Her talk highlights the medium of the magazine as a site of non-state literary activism that placed readers and young writers at the center, the preference for the story as opposed to the novel, and the multilingual knowledge that animated reading practices, even when publication occurred in a single language (Hindi).
In this podcast Dr Anna Bernard (King's College London) examines internationalist world literature by returning to a previous moment in world literary history: a selection of English-language poetry anthologies that were circulated within the anti-apartheid and Palestine solidarity movements in Britain in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Dr Thomas Langley (King's College London) makes a case for reading Antonio Gramsci as an anti-colonial writer. By turning to some of Gramsci’s lesser-known pre-prison writings we can trace lines of continuity that underline the centrality of questions of colonial and imperial power in his work, and foreground the ways in which his writing is characterised by a consistent attempt to locate Italy as a terrain of struggle in relation to broader contours of colonial exploitation and anti-colonial resistance.
Dr Katherine Hennessey (Warwick) discusses Yemen as perhaps the only country in the world that can lay claim to a history of theatre that begins with a performance of Shakespeare and explores the surprisingly vibrant history of adaptations of Shakespeare on the Yemeni stage. Listen to the podcast.
Professor Sanjay Seth (Goldsmiths) argues that history-writing is not the recreation of a past that is always-already there, lying mute and waiting for the historian to give it voice, but is instead a code or genre or technology, one which constructs the past in ways that make it amenable to representation through the code of history.
Professor Venkat Mani (University of Wisconsin-Madison) politicise the idea of world literature. He argues that library and print and digital cultural histories assist in understanding world literature as historically conditioned, culturally determined, and politically charged, and focuses on the role of the state in the construction of world literature using Nazi Germany as a case study.