Rebecca L. Walkowitz

Rebecca L. Walkowitz is Professor and Chair of English and Affiliate Faculty in Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. Her research focuses on transnational and multilingual approaches to literary history. She is the author of Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation (Columbia University Press, 2006) and Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature (Columbia University Press, 2015), and the editor or coeditor of several additional books, including, with Douglas Mao, Bad Modernisms (Duke University Press, 2006) and, with Eric Hayot, A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism (Columbia University Press, 2016).


What Is the Scale of the Literary Object?

We’re not arguing for a turn to scale in modernist studies. It’s too late for that. The turn to scale began geographically at least 15 years ago, with the new theories of world literature and with the call, within modernist studies, to recognize larger ambits for the sourcing, making, developing, and adapting of modernist art. What has been called “the transnational turn” and, later, “global modernism” is surely part of a first re-scaling in modernist studies.[1] Around the same time, the turn to scale also began archivally, with the creation, substantial expansion, and significant use of digital collections, which offered new ways of accessing, parsing, and arranging early twentieth-century manuscripts, books, and journals, as well as artworks in several media, including verbal, visual, and audio.[2