Third world intellectuals and metropolitan culture, et des idées

1/ In the 80s, I was always very taken with Said because he would talk about things my Comparative Literature program would not. I liked the articles “Third World Intellectuals and Metropolitan Culture”, “Travelling Theory,” and other things in Raritan; I liked things in Salmagundi. I should think about this, the fact that these photocopies survived so many moves, an anchor. It is one of the signs pointing to the work I would do.

2/ Nature as protagonist: that is what Fuentes discussed in his 1969 essay on the nueva novela; this is another think I keep thinking about and not naming. And I never saw this 4-volume anthology of Sosnowski’s, and it would be good to have for the graduate students.

3/ I should teach more courses on the novella and short novel. I should use Yuri Herrera’s novels, which I have done before, and I should try El lobo, el bosque y el hombre nuevo which I never have.


5 thoughts on “Third world intellectuals and metropolitan culture, et des idées

  1. The Said article talks about how contributors to avant-garde movements were immigrants to the metropolis, from outlying national regions and also from other and smaller national cultures now seen as culturally provincial in relation to the metropolis (quoting Raymond Williams). Williams’ example is Apollinaire but tere are of course many others. THIS SAID ARTICLE IS IMPORTANT. The avant-garde is hybrid … and as Williams also says, texts are not finished objcts but notations and cultural practices.

  2. ***And Said is talking about Williams’ 1981 book Culture, the chapter on formations.*** In the 19th century guilds, clubs, movements, etc. related to deveopments withina single national social order, but in the 20th century new formations occur — that are international or paranatioinal, and tende to be avant-garde formations in the metropolitan center. (Cf. Paris 1890-1930, NY 1940-1970).

    N. B. This is on p. 29 of the article where the thesis is. Decolonization requires a great adjustment in perspective and understanding. Said is focusing onthe work of intellectuals from the colonial or peripheral regions of the world who wrote not in a colonial language but an imperial one and are engaging with imperial culture. They are using tools of western knowledge but are NOT using it in an imitative or dependent way.

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