Journal article

Out of Europe: How English Clerics Pioneered the Concept of ‘World Literature’

S During

Postcolonial Studies | Taylor & Francis (Routledge) | Published : 2020


© 2020 The Institute of Postcolonial Studies. When Goethe coined the phrase ‘world literature’, he did so after reading a translation of a relatively obscure seventeenth-century Chinese novel, Hao Kiou Choaan. That novel had come to Europe’s attention via an English translation which had been edited and published by the English clergyman Thomas Percy in 1761, before being translated in turn into French, German and Dutch. As such, Hao Kiou Choaan was one of the earliest of a series of editions and translations from all over the world that Percy put into print across the 1760s and 1770s, and which did indeed help ground the European idea of ‘world literature’. This article describes the backgr..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers