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Episode Info: Michael Allan‘s In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2016) challenges traditional perceptions of world literature: he argues that the disciplinary framework of world literature levels the differences between different types of literature. He uses colonial Egypt as a geographic focus of inquiry and demonstrates how literary traditions changed the act of reading: his examples include the Rosetta Stone and translations of the Qur’an. He thus demonstrates that literary reading (to be distinguished from how reading was conceptualized in Egypt before the colonial period) requires different ethical capacities and sensibilities and how they were gradually institutionalized by different genres of texts.Read more »

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