Around the World in 80 Books Summary and Reviews

Around the World in 80 Books

by David Damrosch

Around the World in 80 Books by David Damrosch X
Around the World in 80 Books by David Damrosch
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Book Summary

A transporting and illuminating voyage around the globe, through classic and modern literary works that are in conversation with one another and with the world around them.

Inspired by Jules Verne's hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard University's department of comparative literature and founder of Harvard's Institute for World Literature, set out to counter a pandemic's restrictions on travel by exploring eighty exceptional books from around the globe. Following a literary itinerary from London to Venice, Tehran and points beyond, and via authors from Woolf and Dante to Nobel Prize–winners Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mo Yan, and Olga Tokarczuk, he explores how these works have shaped our idea of the world, and the ways in which the world bleeds into literature.

To chart the expansive landscape of world literature today, Damrosch explores how writers live in two very different worlds: the world of their personal experience and the world of books that have enabled great writers to give shape and meaning to their lives. In his literary cartography, Damrosch includes compelling contemporary works as well as perennial classics, hard-bitten crime fiction as well as haunting works of fantasy, and the formative tales that introduce us as children to the world we're entering. Taken together, these eighty titles offer us fresh perspective on enduring problems, from the social consequences of epidemics to the rising inequality that Thomas More designed Utopia to combat, as well as the patriarchal structures within and against which many of these books' heroines have to struggle—from the work of Murasaki Shikibu a millennium ago to Margaret Atwood today.

Around the World in 80 Books is a global invitation to look beyond ourselves and our surroundings, and to see our world and its literature in new ways.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A]n enlightening tour of global literature...Damrosch's richly conceived survey offers readers a colorful map for an illuminating, enlivening tour of their own libraries. Travel fans and literature lovers alike will find something to savor." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"As he moves along, delving into plots, characters, and themes, and both prose and poetry, over centuries, he creates a vast, fascinating latticework of books within books...This rewarding literary Baedeker will inspire readers to discover new places." - Kirkus Reviews

"Restlessly curious, insightful, and quirky, David Damrosch is the perfect guide to a round-the-world adventure in reading. With such a companion, you never know where you will go next, but you can be confident that the encounter will be memorable. Count me in!" - Stephen Greenblatt, author of Tyrant

"It is always a pleasure to talk about books with David Damrosch, who has read all of them, and he is so eloquent about them all." - Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize-winning novelist

"An insightful journey into the books that have long captivated us. Profound, boundless, and diverse." - Jokha Alharthi, author of the Man Booker International Prize-winning Celestial Bodies

This information about Around the World in 80 Books was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

David Damrosch

David Damrosch is Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Comparative Literature and chair of comparative literature at Harvard University and director of Harvard's Institute for World Literature. He is the author or editor of twenty-five books, including What Is World Literature?, The Buried Book, Comparing the Literatures, and the six-volume Longman Anthology of World Literature. He has lectured in fifty countries around the world, and his online Harvard course Masterpieces of World Literature has been taken by nearly 100,000 people.

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