Premises and Problems

Essays on World Literature and Cinema

Edited by Luiza Franco Moreira
Introduction by Luiza Franco Moreira

Subjects: Literary Criticism, Film Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Studies, Middle East Studies
Series: SUNY Press Open Access
Hardcover : 9781438482477, 250 pages, May 2021
Paperback : 9781438482460, 250 pages, January 2022

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Luiza Franco Moreira

1. In Search of Universal Laws: Averroes' Interpretation of Aristotle's Poetics
Tarek Shamma

2. Lost in Transliteration: Morisco Travel Writing and the Coplas del hijante de Puey Monçón
Benjamin Liu

3. Modern Hebrew Literature as "World Literature": The Political Theology of Dov Sadan
Hannan Hever

4. Islam in the Theory and Practice of World Literature: Translating Adab in the Middle Eastern Novel
Karim Mattar

5. Selective Invisibility: Elizabeth Bishop, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, and World Literature
Luiza Franco Moreira

6. Latin America and the World: Borges, Bolaño, and the Inconceivable Universal
Patrick Dove

7. Analysis of the Socio-Culture in the Study of the Modern World-System
Richard E. Lee

8. Ethics of Skepticism: A Case Study in Contemporary World Cinema
Jeroen Gerrits

9. Polycentrism, Periphery, and the Place of Brazilian Cinema in World Cinema
Cecília Mello


Discusses world literature and cinema from the perspective of literary languages and film traditions that do not hold a hegemonic position.


World literature, many have stressed, is a systematic category. Both literary scholars and social scientists have argued that the prestige of the major literary languages is key to establishing the shape of the overall system. In order to critically interrogate world literature and cinema, Premises and Problems approaches this system from the perspective of languages and film traditions that do not hold a hegemonic position. This perspective raises new questions about the nature of literary hegemony and the structure of world literature: How is hegemony established? What are the costs of losing it? What does hegemony mask? How is it masked? The contributors focus predominantly on literatures outside the small circle of prestigious modern European languages and on films and film criticism produced outside the best-known centers. The inclusion of this unfamiliar material calls attention to some areas of obscurity that make key features of the system indistinct, or that make it difficult to trace relationships between texts that hold different levels of prestige, such as those of the Global North and the Global South. The book argues that the study of world literature and cinema will profit from a sustained and informed engagement with the body of work produced by historical social scientists committed to the perspective of the world-system.

Open Access funded by the State University of New York at Binghamton. It can be found in the SUNY Open Access Repository at

Luiza Franco Moreira is Professor of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University, State University of New York. She is the author and editor of several books in Portuguese.