Editors: Róbert Gáfrik (Institute of World Literature SAS, Bratislava) and Miloš Zelenka (University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra)
The concept of world literature has recently become subject of intense discussion. Although it is referred to by various other terms such as “literature of the world”, “worldliness of literature”, “the world literary system”, “the world republic of letters”, etc., the methodological frameworks for discussing the concept of world literature were most clearly set by Pascale Casanova, Franco Moretti and David Damrosch, who understand it as a system into which texts enter through the so-called “large” literature, most often written in English. The historical experience of the so-called “small” literatures (e.g. Central and Eastern European ones) points to the fact that methodological discourse cannot be limited to a single approach, but rather in theoretical practice it takes place in different languages and among different power relations. Theorists from these (small) countries question the idea of such a “network” or standardized canon, which would mean accepting inequality as a certain epistemological framework and a way of presentation codifying the binary oppositions of “development” vs. “underdevelopment” or “center” vs. “periphery”. On the other hand, it is not possible to ignore the real power of this hegemony, which presents itself as universal.