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Charting the Future of Australian Lit with Apter's Against World Literature

Matthew Schantz26 August 2013

Joshua Mostafa, writing in Sydney Review of Books, praises Emily Apter’s Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability, writing “there is much value in Apter’s insights into the ambiguous nature of translation and language barriers.” Though Mostafa has some reservations about the discourse of World Literature on a whole, especially the “linguistic turn” in philosophy, of which Apter can be considered a part, Mostafa affirms the usefulness of Apter’s book by using it to critique the current status of Australian literature.

Rather than strive for world-recognition or the translation of many aboriginal works into English, Apter’s book challenges Australian literature:

to pluralise itself, to recognise and foster Australian literatures of many languages, the literatures of its indigenous as well as its settler population; it is to create the conditions in which ‘Australian English Literature’ is not a tautologous phrase of hand-wringing political correctness, but a meaningful descriptor for one literature among many.

Visit Sydney Review of Books to read the review in full.

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