Michael Allan (University of Oregon): In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt
In Cooperation with Forum Transregionale Studien
What would world literature look like if understood not as an accumulation of texts from across the globe, but instead as the globalization of a practice of literary reading? And what becomes of other modes of reading within this global literary paradigm? The talk responds to these questions by looking closely at two scenes of reading, each of which stages a story at the limits of storytelling. In the first, Michael Allan draws from Taha Hussein's autobiographical narration of a life prior to literacy; and in the second, he examines the protest of Haydar Haydar's novel on the streets of Cairo. In either of these accounts, both the limits of a literary writer imagining illiteracy and the possibilities that arise from reading otherwise are confronted.
Michael Allan is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Petrone Faculty Scholar at the University of Oregon, where he is also on the Program Faculty for Cinema Studies, Arabic and Middle East Studies. He recently completed his first book, »In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt« (Princeton 2016), and is currently writing on a book on the travels of the Lumière Brothers film company across North Africa and the Middle East. He is a EUME-CNMS Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2017–2018.