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Title: Postwar Intellectuals and the Concept of European Literature: Exile, Memory, Reparation
Author: Rotger, Neus  
Abstract: This article focuses on the concept of European literature—its invention in Western cultural hi and Magdi story, as well as the meaning and value attributed to it as a form of a warring Europe. It addresses the contributions of key European intellectuals of the interwar period and the postwar years, such as Victor Klemperer, Paul Valéry, Thomas Mann, Edmund Husserl, Ernst Robert Curtius, Jean Guéhenno, Karl Jaspers, and Erich Auerbach. The article discusses the important and often obscured similarities between the two periods and holds up the cultural assumptions and representations of these intellectuals’ collective discourse alongside their later critical reception by scholars like Edward Said, Armando Gnisci, Franca Sinopoli, and Magdi Yousef. Through this critical review of postwar intellectual thought, the article analyzes the ideological and affective charge of the idea of European literature as it is perpetuated through schooling and the paradigm of literary history. It demonstrates how, even though it was used as a defense against barbarism after the two world wars, the notion of “European literature,” like that of “tradition,” became a highly vulnerable construct after the advent of post-structuralism.
Keywords: European literature
comparative literature
literary history
supranational identity
exile philology
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Issue Date: Nov-2023
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