An Ecology of World Literature

An Ecology of World Literature:From Antiquity to the Present Day

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A vital analysis of world literature through history

What is a literature? How do literatures of different countries interact with each other? In this groundbreaking study, Alexander Beecroft develops a new way of thinking about world literature. Drawing on a series of examples and case studies, the book ranges from ancient epic to the contemporary fiction of Roberto Bolaño and Amitav Ghosh. Beecroft identifies a series of literary ecologies, from small-scale societies to the planet as a whole, within which literary texts are produced and circulated. An Ecology of World Literature places in dialogue scholarship on ancient and modern, western and non-western texts, producing new and unexpected demands for literary study.


  • Extraordinary in its sweep across time and space, Alexander Beecroft’s new book insightfully distinguishes among various groupings or ‘ecologies’ of world literature. Admirably lucid, engaging, and ambitious, it encompasses literary cultures at every scale, from the most local to the national and global. It is sure to help energize comparative literary studies for years to come.

    Jahan Ramazani, author of A Transnational Poetics
  • A profound undertaking … The journey through the six ecologies Beecroft lays out is altogether fascinating and staggering in breadth and depth.

    Alexa FiratJournal of the Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World
  • Beecroft's approach provides a useful means of comparing literatures across time and language and dares to speculate what might be in store for the future. Well-written and clearly argued.

    Library Journal