The Meta-literary History of Cultural Transmitters and Forgotten Scholars in the midst of Transnational Literary History

Broomans, P., 1-Oct-2019, (Accepted/In press) Cultural Transfer Reconsidered. Jørgensen, S. B., Lüsebrink, H-J. & Heidmann, U. (eds.). Brill/Rodopi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

The field of cultural transfer studies is a relatively young discipline which developed against the backdrop of important events and theoretical and methodological “turns”, such as the crisis in literary historiography and the “personal” turn in translation studies at the end of the twentieth century. It will be argued here that it also has forgotten roots in early comparative literary studies, one object of which was the possibility of writing a world literary history. The early comparatists also argued for more focus on cultural transmitters. This chapter starts from the assumption that a more complete history of cultural transfer studies is required, one that leads to a rethinking of concepts. It will take the initial steps in this direction.
It will become clear that unsuccessful cultural transfer processes and the lack of material complicate the writing of transnational/national literary history. In addition to this complexity, the histories of cultural transfer thus far have commonly relied on metaphors of trade and conquest when describing the literary field in which translators and translations take a visible or invisible position. In this regard, the historiographer will have to decide on the plot regarding the cultural transmitter: will it be one in which the protagonist is a leader and discoverer, or the silent worker and clerk? Throughout the chapter some cultural transmitters from Finland and Sweden will act as illustrative examples.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Transfer Reconsidered
EditorsSteen Bille Jørgensen, Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, Ute Heidmann
Publisher Brill/Rodopi
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1-Oct-2019


  • cultural transfer history, cultural transfer process, cultural transmitters, comparative literature studies, transnational meta-literary historiography, Henriette Roland Holst, Hagar Olsson, Martha Muusses, Paul van Tieghem

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