previous next


A world-literature

in Eckermann's ‘Conversations with Goethe’ that poet is represented as having said, in January, 1827, that the time for separate national literatures had gone by. ‘National literature,’ he said, ‘is now a rather unmeaning phrase (will jetzt nicht viel sagen); the epoch of world-literature is at hand (die Epoche der Welt-Literatur ist an der Zeit), and each one must do what he can to hasten its approach.’ Then he points out that it will not be safe to select any one literature as affording a pattern or model (musterhaft); or that, if it is, this model must necessarily be the Greek. All the rest, he thought, must be looked at historically, we appropriating from each the best that can be employed.

If this world-literature be really the ultimate aim, it is something to know that we are at least getting so far as to interchange freely our national models. The current London literature

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. W. Goethe (1)
J. P. Eckermann (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January, 1827 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: