To Staunchly “Remain a Reader” and build up a World Comradeship: Reflecting with Rabih Alameddine on World Literature


What is a classic? To what extent are books and book collections endangered goods? What is the role and meaning of literature and translation in times of hardship? In An Unnecessary Woman (2013), Rabih Alameddine addresses these questions, while also indirectly contesting traditional canonical practices based on rigid hierarchies and the logic of national and linguistic purity. Alameddine highlights the violence inscribed in the practices of book selection and canon formation. In doing so, he troubles received notions of the canon, the classics, and especially of world literature, offering an alternative conceptualization of this long-debated category as an intimate, cosmopolitan assemblage of worldly texts.


world literature; intimacy; cosmopolitanism; decolonial praxis; anti-authoritarianism

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Published : 2022-12-31

MarchiL. (2022). To Staunchly “Remain a Reader” and build up a World Comradeship: Reflecting with Rabih Alameddine on World Literature. Review of International American Studies, 15(2), 163-185.

Lisa Marchi
University of Trento  Italy

Lisa Marchi teaches U.S. Literature at the University of Trento, Italy, with a special focus on global interconnections, particularly between the U.S., Europe, and the Arab world. Lisa has published articles in international peer-reviewed journals, such as Comparative Literature Studies, Canadian Literature, and Ácoma, as well as essays in edited volumes. She is the author of In filigrana. Poesia arabo-americana scritta da donne (La scuola di Pitagora, 2020), the first monograph written in Italian on contemporary Arab-American poetry. Her latest book The Funambulists: Women Poets of the Arab Diaspora was released by Syracuse University Press in September 2022.

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