Rebecca L. Walkowitz is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department and an affiliate faculty member in the Comparative Literature Program at Rutgers University. She is Past President of the Modernist Studies Association. She writes and teaches courses about modernism, twentieth-century British and Anglophone fiction, the contemporary novel, translation, world literature, and transnational approaches to literary history.
She is the author of Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature, which was published by Columbia University Press in 2015. You can read interviews about the book here and here.
Born Translated considers for the first time how the idea of world literature, as a network of multilingual editions and audiences, has changed the aesthetic strategies and formal dimensions of contemporary writing. Walkowitz identifies and traces the formal, thematic, and institutional features of translation-born novels. She also shows how the emergence of novels designed for translation tests critical practices and frameworks such as reading in translation, the relationship between novels and political communities, the idea of originals and copies, multilingualism, the concept of the work, and the "native" reader or audience.
Her first book, Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation (2006), was awarded Honorable Mention for the Perkins Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative.
She is the editor or coeditor of eight books, including Immigrant Fictions: Contemporary Literature in an Age of Globalization (2007), Bad Modernisms (2006, with Douglas Mao), and The Turn to Ethics (with Marjorie Garber and Beatrice Hanssen, 2000). With Eric Hayot, she has edited a volume of experimental essays by leading scholars in the fields of world literature and modernist studies. Published by Columbia University Press in 2016, A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism shows how the intellectual paradigms we've long associated with modernism are transformed, and how new paradigms emerge, when modernism's archive extends beyond the European center. The book also explores how our methodologies change when we approach modernism comparatively and when we draw out modernism's own engagement with ideas of the world.
Recent essays include "Will the Man Booker International Prize Challenge English's Dominance as a World Language?'," which appeared in Summer 2015, "Future Reading", which appeared in January 2015, and "Translating the Untranslatable: An Interview with Barbara Cassin," which appeared in Public Books in June 2014.
From 2008-2012, she was an editor of the journal Contemporary Literature. She has served on the advisory board of the American Comparative Literature Association; as Program Chair of the Modernist Studies Association; and as Chair of the MLA Divisions on Prose Fiction and Twentieth-Century English Literature. At Rutgers, Walkowitz directs a research group on Modernism & Globalization.
With Sarah Cole at Columbia, she is co-organizer of the NYNJ Modernism Seminar. Walkowitz is also editor, with Matthew Hart (Columbia University) and David James (Queen Mary, University of London), of Literature Now, a book series published by Columbia University Press. Literature Now is the first series to welcome studies of contemporary literature that are transnational and comparative as well as national and regional in approach.
Professor Walkowitz is the recipient of several major national and university fellowships, including a Marshall Scholarship, a Javits Fellowship, an ACLS Fellowship, a National Humanties Center Fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, and three teaching prizes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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