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4 - Literature and nationalism

from II - National developments in literary criticism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2013

M. A. R. Habib
Affiliation:
Rutgers University, New Jersey
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Summary

Critical reflection on literature became a vital part of the public culture. This chapter addresses some of the ways in which literature became not only a vehicle for the expression and circulation of nationalist ideas but also a measure of the nation. It pursues three broad areas of inquiry: first, the continuities and distinctions between contemporary nationalism studies and articulations of nationality in the history of ideas in the West; second, the development of national literary history as a synecdoche for the nation's history; third, the ways in which the failure of national literature was tied to the incomplete development or decline of the nation. The study of nationalism has largely been shaped by political science, sociology and history, and has focused on the conditions under which nationalism emerges. National literature became not merely an expression of the nation's character but also evidence of the nation's merit and even legitimacy.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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