, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 267–287 | Cite as

The place of philology in an age of world literature

  • Michael HolquistEmail author


A more globalized concept of culture and the tsunami of information made available by the digital revolution call for new reading practices. The emerging discipline of World Literature is an attempt to create such practice, but one that would seem to have very little place in it for the highly specialized skills that define philology, the closest of all close reading strategies. It is this tension that has sparked several calls for a “return to philology.” A historical overview of the Golden Age of classical philology in Germany (1777–1872) suggests that the skills that have defined the profession all over the globe from earliest times are still valuable, but in future can best be employed only in cooperation with scholars having other competencies.


Philology German Enlightenment Universities Reading World literature 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New YorkUSA

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