Primary Source Archives
Gale Primary Sources offers world literature collections that include journals, periodicals, and articles that provide researchers with firsthand material.
Examine the topic of world literature, the definition of which has been subject to scholarly debate. The term was first used in 1827 by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to refer to the dissemination of literature from and to countries around the world—in effect, a focus on the globalization of literature. Others consider world literature to be all the literature in the world, both past and present, as a counter to a nationalist approach to literature.
The study of world literature is a fairly new phenomena that developed primarily in the West, having taken hold in Western academia only recently. Well into the 20th century, the study of literature in Western colleges and universities focused mainly on novels, short stories, plays, and poetry produced in the West—in other words, English literature that was considered part of an accepted canon. In the mid-20th century, there was more acceptance of English-language titles produced in non-Western countries, such as works from English-speaking African writers. Translations of foreign-language works into English further generated interest in literature from other cultures.
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