Tag Archives: casanova

Commonplace #2

“…the modern, by definition is always new, and therefore open to the challenge, the only way in literary space to be truly modern is to contest the present as outmoded – to appeal to a still more present present, as yet unknown, which thus becomes the newest certified present” (91).

Casanova, Pascale. “The World Republic of Letters”. transl. M. B. Devoise. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999. pp. 91.

This solidifies the properties of modern fiction that were discussed in class and how they bring about breaks with and within traditions. Modern is meant to challenge the old, presenting a new, refreshing piece of writing. It is something that is newer than the new, and “more present present”.

Modernity and the Classic

“The modern work is condemned to become dated unless, by achieving the status of a classic, it manages to free itself from the fluctuations of taste and critical opinion… Literarily speaking, a classic is a work that rises above competition and so escapes the bidding of time. Only in this way can a modern work be rescued from aging, by being declared timeless and immortal.” (92)

Casanova, Pascale. The World Republic of Letters. Translated by M. B. DeBevoise. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Whereas the modern author tries desperately to be as modern and contemporary as possible, his real success, paradoxically, is creating something that is timeless and classic – and by doing so, defining what it is to be literature.

Local writing v. global influence

“This specifically literary form of time is perceptible only by those writers on the peripheries of the world of letters who, in their openness to international experience, seek to end what they see as their exile from literature. “National” writers, by contrast, whether they live in central or outlying countries, are united in ignoring world competition (and therefore literary time) and in considering only the local norms and limits assigned to literary practice by their homelands.”

Casanova, Pascale. “The World Republic of Letters”. transl. M. B. Devoise. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999. pp. 94.

Does Casanova argue that writers should aspire past the localness that flavor their writings to build on literary time that’s established by the international literary space?