The globalization of literature

Publication Type:



National Institute of Advanced Studies, Volume L3, Number 81-87663-17-0, Bangalore (2001)



Realizing that in order to speak of globalization, I need to know the exact meaning of the word, I went to Oxford Dictionary, which told me that 'global' is worldwide and that 'globalization' means making global. These dictionary meanings, however, are no more than the bare bones of a word, for words have meanings that go beyond their dictionary definitions. The flesh and the soul of a word comes from us, from the way we use the word, from the context in which we use it and from the values we set on the concept have changed. Sir Ernest Gowers in his 'The Complete Plain Words' cites the revealing example of the word 'imperialism' which, from being regarded as 'a larger patriotism', became a word with a rather unpleasant connotation, because of a change in the ideology that no longer regarded empire building or colonizing as a noble enterprise. These being looked at with askance, the meaning of the word was debased as well.


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