The Idea of World Literature

The Idea of World Literature cover

John Pizer. The Idea of World Literature History and Pedagogical Practice. LSU Press, 2006.

Pizer argues persuasively that Weltliteratur can provide cohesion to the study of World Literature today. In his view, traditional "World Lit" classes are limited by their focus on the universal elements of literature. A course based on Weltliteratur, however, promotes a more thorough understanding of literature as a dialectic between the universal and the particular. In a practical guide to teaching World Literature by employing Goethe's paradigm, he explains how to help students navigate between the extremes of homogenization on the one hand and exoticism on the other, learning both what cultures share.