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Goethe’s Idea of Weltliteratur on the Occasion of the Anniversary of the “Journal of World’s Literature”

Marijan Bobinac ; Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu

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The idea of Weltliteratur, which Goethe formulated in the second half of the 1820s, was inspired not only by his encounter with other European and non-European literatures of different epochs, which Weimar Classic showed keen interest for all his life; it was in many ways spurred by his insight into an accelerated modernization of the literary and cultural machine of one hand, and, on the other hand, a desire for reconciliation among the European nations after protracted (Napoleonic) wars. This was about a particular literary concept in which Goethe strives to position literature within the modern, in the gap between the process of “internationalization” and “nationalization,” between its ever greater exposure to the globalizing trends and its ever stronger national differentiation in the face of the advanced processes of integration of the contemporary nations and their cultures. When coining the term, Goethe did not pursue a sustained approach, so that his primarily associative statements do not provide an argumentative ground whereby to fix the meaning of the concept of Weltliteratur. It is this openness of the concept that has generated the discussion about world literature which has gone on until today and has been creating new referential frameworks.

Ključne riječi

Weltliteratur; world literature; Goethe

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