Through Other Continents by Wai-chee Dimock
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Through Other Continents
By Wai-chee Dimock

Through Other Continents

American Literature Across Deep Time

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Format: Paperback

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Through Other Continents by Wai-chee Dimock

Book Awards

  • Commended for American Comparative Literature Association's Harry Levin Prize 2007.
  • Commended for Modern Language Association James Russell Lowell Prize 2006.

Book Description

What we call American literature is quite often a shorthand, a simplified name for an extended tangle of relations." This is the argument of Through Other Continents, Wai Chee Dimock's sustained effort to read American literature as a subset of world literature. Inspired by an unorthodox archive--ranging from epic traditions in Akkadian and Sanskrit to folk art, paintings by Veronese and Tiepolo, and the music of the Grateful Dead--Dimock constructs a long history of the world, a history she calls "deep time." The civilizations of Mesopotamia, India, Egypt, China, and West Africa, as well as Europe, leave their mark on American literature, which looks dramatically different when it is removed from a strictly national or English-language context. Key authors such as Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Ezra Pound, Robert Lowell, Gary Snyder, Leslie Silko, Gloria Naylor, and Gerald Vizenor are transformed in this light. Emerson emerges as a translator of Islamic culture; Henry James's novels become long-distance kin to Gilgamesh; and Black English loses its ungrammaticalness when reclassified as a creole tongue, meshing the input from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Throughout, Dimock contends that American literature is answerable not to the nation-state, but to the human species as a whole, and that it looks dramatically different when removed from a strictly national or English-language context.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691114507
ISBN-10: 0691114501
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 16mm)
Pages: 264
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 20-Oct-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Wai-chee Dimock

Shades of the Planet by Wai-chee Dimock Shades of the Planet, Paperback (March 2007)

In a globalizing age, studying American literature in isolation from the rest of the world seems less and less justified. But is the conceptual box of the nation dispensable? And what would American literature look like without it? This book takes up this debate.

Empire for Liberty by Wai-chee Dimock Empire for Liberty, Paperback (February 1991)

Approaching Herman Melville as a figure caught in the politics of a nation and an "imperial self", the author aims to challenge our view by demonstrating a link between the individualism that enabled Melville to write as a sovereign author and the nationalism that allowed America to grow into what Jefferson hoped would be an "empire for liberty".

» View all books by Wai-chee Dimock


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Author Biography - Wai-chee Dimock

Wai Chee Dimock is William Lampson Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University. She is the author of "Empire for Liberty: Melville and the Poetics of Individualism" (Princeton) and "Residues of Justice: Literature, Law, Philosophy".

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