Gatekeepers: The Emergence of World Literature and the 1960s

Hardcover | April 26, 2016

byWilliam Marling

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The romantic idea of the writer as an isolated genius has been discredited, but there are few empirical studies documenting the role of "gatekeeping" in the literary process. How do friends, agents, editors, translators, small publishers, and reviewers-not to mention the changes in technologyand the publishing industry-shape the literary process? This matrix is further complicated when books cross cultural and language barriers, that is, when they become part of World Literature. Gatekeepers builds on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Randall Collins, James English, and Mark McGurl, describing the multi-layered gatekeeping process in the context of World Literature after the 1960s. It focuses on four case studies: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Charles Bukowski, Paul Auster and HarukiMurakami. The two American authors achieved remarkable success overseas owing to canny gatekeepers; the two international authors benefited tremendously from well-curated translation into English. Rich in archival materials (correspondence between authors, editors, and translators, and publishing industry analyses), interviews with publishers and translators, and close readings of translations, this study shows how the process and production of literature depends on the larger social forcesof a given historical moment. William Marling also documents the ever-increasing Anglo-centric dictate on the gatekeeping process. World Literature, the book argues, is not so much a "republic of letters" as a field of chance on which the conversation is partly bracketed by historic events andtechnological opportunities.

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The romantic idea of the writer as an isolated genius has been discredited, but there are few empirical studies documenting the role of "gatekeeping" in the literary process. How do friends, agents, editors, translators, small publishers, and reviewers-not to mention the changes in technologyand the publishing industry-shape the litera...

William H. Marling is Professor of English and World Literature at Case Western Reserve University. A former journalist, he has published several books, including How American Is Globalization? and The American Roman Noir.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 0.12 × 0.12 × 0.12 inPublished:April 26, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019027414X

ISBN - 13:9780190274146

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"Marling offers a major advance in the theory of literary fields. An aspiring writer attracts supportive networks by displaying an abundance of emotional energy-confidence, enthusiasm-that attracts attention and spreads the emotional glow first in small local networks, then bridging to largerones. Creativity is social not just because that is how one learns the previous literature and techniques, but as it focuses awareness of what part of the writer's cultural capital is the pathway to success." --Randall Collins, author of Napoleon Never Slept: How Great Leaders Leverage SocialEnergy