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Displacements, decenterings: novels without borders

Abstract

Though an important tool in the diverse processes of nation-building and national identity across the globe, since its rise and consolidation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel has never recognized any frontiers. Through transmigration and transculturation, it has challenged what constitutes a polity or nation and what is internal or foreign to these boundaries. The most symptomatic evidence of this porousness is certainly the intersections, the mutual appropriations and cross-fertilizations which have always characterized the genre-as hybrid, mixed, mimetic, and cosmopolitan par excellence. The questions that mobilize us are: 1) how a literary form thought to be enmeshed in a specific historical process-that of the rise of the European bourgeoisie and capitalism - could travel and prosper in other environments; 2) how it accommodates the new cultural landscape; 3) how it does and does not translate new realities and different contents across linguistic borders; 4) and in what way the genre changes thanks to the new uses and new situations in this new time and place. The common object that ties together this project is, therefore, to map the contexts and relevance of these displacements and to investigate the synergies between the foundation and consolidation of the novel and its literary system in Brazil and beyond. Using the theme of "displacements" as its springboard, it aims to chart the development of the novel as both a phenomenon that develops out of the specific circumstances of European industrialization, capitalism, and imperialism, but also a genre that resists these metanarratives both in terms of its transnational appeal and readership. (AU)

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