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Belated Modernity and Aesthetic Culture

Inventing National Literature

1991
Author:

Gregory Jusdanis

Belated Modernity and Aesthetic Culture

Traces literature’s function in the formation of the nation-state through the “belated” emergence of a national aesthetic culture in Greece.

Traces literature’s function in the formation of the nation-state through the “belated” emergence of a national aesthetic culture in Greece.

How does literature function in the formation of a nation-state? What are its pivotal contributions to national discourse and the production of ideological collective will? And, ultimately, how is literature institutionalized and aestheticized?

Belated Modernity and Aesthetic Culture: Inventing National Literature addresses these questions and considers the role literature plays in the construction of a national cultural. Gregory Jusdanis examines the emergence of art and literature in Western Europe in the eighteenth century and traces their introduction to Greece, a stratified, noncapitalist society that was hostile to Enlightenment and secularism. This groundbreaking work explores the importation of national literatures into a largely non-Western society and the inherent resistance they faced.

Arguing for the literary status of national culture at its inception, Jusdanis brilliantly demonstrates that in literature, the specific meanings in narratives and fiction form the process of nation building. Culture, history, and literature, he says, merge in those narratives, which in turn provide the imaginary mirror in which a nation reflects itself.

Belated Modernity and Aesthetic Culture

Gregory Jusdanis is assistant professor of Modern Greek at The Ohio State University and the author of The Poetics of Cavafy: Textuality, Eroticism, History.

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