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What is the meaning of world literature?

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11/27/2012

World literature is sometimes used to refer to the sum total of the world's national literatures, but usually it refers to the circulation of works into the wider world beyond their country of origin. Often used in the past primarily for masterpieces of Western European literature, world literature today is increasingly seen in global context. Readers today have access to an unprecedented range of works from around the world in excellent translations, and since the mid-1990s a lively debate has grown up concerning both the aesthetic and the political values and limitations of an emphasis on global processes over national traditions.