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Rebecca L. Walkowitz
Selected Publications
book Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature (Columbia University Press, 2015) considers how the idea of world literature, as a network of multilingual editions and audiences, has changed the aesthetic strategies and formal properties of contemporary writing. Born Translated builds a much-needed framework for understanding translation's effect on fictional works, as well as digital art, avant-garde magazines, literary anthologies, and visual media. Artists and novelists discussed include J. M. Coetzee, Junot Diaz, Jonathan Safran Foer, Mohsin Hamid, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jamaica Kincaid, Ben Lerner, China Mieville, David Mitchell, Walter Mosley, Caryl Phillips, Adam Thirlwell, Amy Waldman, and Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries.

Born Translated was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2016 Matei Calinescu Prize.

Picasso Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation (Columbia University Press, 2006) argues that modernist literary style has been crucial to new ways of thinking and acting beyond the nation. Walkowitz suggests that conceiving of style expansively as attitude, stance, posture, and consciousness helps to explain many other, nonliterary formations of cosmopolitanism in history, anthropology, sociology, transcultural studies, and media studies. This book shows that the novels of James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, and W. G. Sebald use the salient features of literary modernism to explore different versions of transnational thought, question moral and political norms, and renovate the meanings of national culture and international attachment. It illustrates how Joyce, Conrad, and Woolf developed a repertoire of narrative strategies at the beginning of the twentieth century that were transformed by Rushdie, Ishiguro, and Sebald at the end. A broad-ranging and ambitious intervention in the debates over the politics, ethics, and aesthetics of cosmopolitanism.

Cosmopolitan Style was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2008 Perkins Prize.

See reviews in Publisher's Weekly (August 7, 2006); CHOICE (January 2007); Modernism/modernity 14.1 (2007); Politics and Culture 2.2 (2007); American Book Review (March/April 2007); M/C Reviews (August 10, 2007); Textual Practice 21.3 (September 2007); Comparative Literature Studies 44.3 (2007); James Joyce Literary Supplement 21.2 (Fall 2007); The Year's Work in English Studies 87.1 (2008); Comparative Literature 60.2 (Spring 2008); Studies in the Novel 40.3 (Fall 2008); Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 10.1 (Spring 2009); Modern Fiction Studies 55.4 (Winter 2009); Twentieth-Century Literature 54, no. 3 (Fall 2008); NOVEL 43, no. 2 (Summer 2010).

Picasso A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism, co-edited with Eric Hayot (Columbia University Press, 2016). Bringing together leading critics and literary scholars, A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism argues for new ways of understanding the nature and development of twentieth-century literature and culture. Scholars have largely understood modernism as an American and European phenomenon. Those parameters have expanded in recent decades, but the incorporation of multiple origins and influences has often been tied to older conceptual frameworks that make it difficult to think of modernism globally. Providing alternative approaches, A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism introduces pathways through global archives and new frameworks that offer a richer, more representative set of concepts for the analysis of literary and cultural works.
book Immigrant Fictions: Contemporary Literature in an Age of Globalization (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007) is a groundbreaking collection that brings together studies of world literature, book history, narrative theory, and the contemporary novel. Contributors argue that today's methods of critical reading have assumed a national model of literary culture. Instead, these essay suggest, contemporary novels by immigrant writers need to be read across several geographies of production, circulation, and translation. Analyzing work by David Peace, George Lamming, Caryl Phillips, Iva Pekarkova, Yan Geling, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Anchee Min, and Monica Ali, the contributors to Immigrant Fictions take up a range of critical topics, including the transnational book and the migrant writer, the comparative reception history of postcolonial fiction, trnasnational criticism and Asian-American literature in the U.S., mobility and feminism in translation, linguistic mediation and immigrant fictions, migration and the politics of narrative form. This volume is also available as the Winter 2006 special issue of the journal Contemporary Literature.
book Bad Modernisms, co-edited with Douglas Mao (Duke University Press, 2006), takes up the twenty-first-century renewal of modernism among poets and architects, designers and critics, teachers and artists, many of whom are rediscovering the virtues of the previous century's most vibrant cultural constellation. Yet this widespread embrace raises questions about modernism’s relation to its own success. Modernism’s "badness"—its emphasis on outrageous behavior, its elevation of negativity, its refusal to be condoned—seems essential to its power. But once modernism is accepted as "good" or valuable (as a great deal of modernist art now is), its status as a subversive aesthetic intervention seems undermined. The contributors to Bad Modernisms tease out the contradictions in modernism's commitment to badness. They reconsider familiar figures, such as Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Josef von Sternberg, Ludwig Wittgenstein, W. H. Auden, and Wyndham Lewis, and bring to light the work of lesser-known artists, including the writer Carlos Bulosan and the experimental filmmaker Len Lye. Examining cultural artifacts ranging from novels to manifestos, from philosophical treatises to movie musicals, and from anthropological essays to advertising campaigns, these essays signal the capaciousness and energy galvanizing the new modernist studies.

See reviews in CHOICE (December 2006); Modernism/modernity 14.2 (2007); Forum for Modern Language Studies 43.3 (2007); Common Knowledge 14.1 (2008): Woolf Studies Annual 14 (2008); The Year's Work in English Studies 87.1 (2008): Minnesota Review 71-72 (2009); American Literary Scholarship (2006): Studies in the Novel 41.1 (2009) .

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