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KEVIEWS into a discussion ofburial rituals as well as a careful account ofthe Orientalist paléographie work ofthe 1870s. Each chapter within the three sections hinges on a surprising and productivejuxtaposition that combines comparisons between texts that share a historical connection with those whose connection is forged in the reader's mind. After the chapter centering on the Assyrian epic comes one that emerges from a reading ofAztec court poetry. A third chapter is inspired by Congolese novelist Mbwil a M. Ngal's reconsideration ofViconian historiography in the 1970s. After the chapters on circulation, Damrosch then undertakes the matter of translation. Using as his starting point an ancient Egyptian lyric, he moves from assessing "the complex dynamics oftransmission" to laying out with care the "irreducible problems that translation always faces" (147). With two further prime examples, the visions ofthe thirteenth century German mystic Mechthild von Magdeburg and the "littérature mineure" ofDeleuze's Kafka, Damrosch presents the complex network oflinguistic and cultural exchanges which both challenge and enrich the process of translation and the text itself. The final third of the book involves dissemination, the ways in which works have and might travel. The case of P.G. Wodehouse's international marketing success epitomizes Damrosch's theory that a key element in becoming world literature is the extent to which an author has "subtly delocalized" (212) his text thereby making translation itselfonly a further step in an already undertaken circulation. With Wodehouse, Rigoberta Menchu, and Milorad Pavic as his foci, he suggests that some texts are worldly from their very inscription. Throughoutthis "masterwork," ifone dare use such a term, Damrosch engages with critics as varied as Northrope Frye and Edward Said and refuses, with the exception ofthe strong presence ofGerman language texts as a spine, to study any sortofregional orhistorical chauvinism. The study is entirelycollégial, whetherto the editors ofthe Norton anthologies ofworld literature or to critics ofparticular authors. This is no small achievement in the often competitive and market-driven world ofmaking and distributing anthologies. Beyond its clarity and grace ofstyle, its breadth and depth ofknowledge, Damrosch's book is not only humanistic in the best and widest sense, it is also humane, profoundly concerned with how we read, think, and teach about literature. One would expect exactly such an approach form the author of We Scholars in a text that enables and refines the work ofreaders as different as endowed chairs ofliterature and sophomore undergraduates. Elizabeth M. Richmond-GarzaUniversityofTexas atAustin ALFRED LOPEZ. Posts andPasts: A Theory ofPostcolonialism. Albany: State University ofNew York Press, 2001. 274 pp. In her now seminal essay "The Angel ofProgress," Anne McClintock inaugurated the criticism of the concept-word "postcolonial" by doubting that the world's countries "share a single 'common past', or a single common 'condition,' called 'the postcolonial condition'." She was also wary ofthe fact that "the term 'postcolonialism ' is, in many cases, prematurely celebratory" (Social Text 10.2-3 [1992]: 87). In his remarkable first book, Posts and Pasts: A Theory ofPostcolonialism, Alfred J. López opens with a reexamination of many similar criticisms that followed, arguing against the postcolonial as a concept /academic practice, which he groups under three headings: a) "objections to the term 'postcoloniaP as a Vole 28 (2004): 158 THE COMPAKATIST discreet epistemological category"; b) "questions ofpostcolonial agency and the subaltern"; and c) "questions ofpostcolonial hybridity and the critique of hegemony ," which interrogates the efficacy ofpostcolonial academic discourse and its role in relation to colonial and neocolonial discourse. These criticisms, López argues, share "the conviction that postcolonial studies unnecessarily privilege Western theorizations at the expense ofa politics ofresistance." López counters with a defense ofthe postcolonial both as a useful heuristic and as a discipline. Again, he structures his response to criticism around three claims: a) the postcolonial goes beyond the economic and the historical to encompass class, gender, race, ethnicity, language, and geography; b) "the postcolonial is not simply an idealism or an essentialism"; and c) "at its best, postcolonialism does not lack historical specificity." It soon becomes evident that the book sides with theorists who speak for those "third spaces" where subjectivities are not easily fixated, especially in terms of dualities. For López...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0887
Print ISSN
0195-7678
Pages
pp. 158-160
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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