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  • Published: 16 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241501023
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $48.00

Around the World in 80 Books




A transporting and illuminating voyage around the globe, through classic and modern literary works that are in conversation with one another and with the world around them

Inspired by Jules Verne's hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard's Department of Comparative Literature and founder of Harvard's Institute for World Literature, set out to counter a pandemic's restrictions on travel by exploring eighty exceptional books from around the globe. Following a literary itinerary from London to Venice, Tehran and points beyond, and via authors from Woolf and Dante to Nobel prizewinners Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mo Yan and Olga Tokarczuk, he explores how these works have shaped our idea of the world, and the ways the world bleeds into literature.

To chart the expansive landscape of world literature today, Damrosch explores how writers live in two very different worlds: the world of their personal experience, and the world of books that have enabled great writers to give shape and meaning to their lives. In his literary cartography, Damrosch includes compelling contemporary works as well as perennial classics, hard-bitten crime fiction as well as haunting works of fantasy, and the formative tales that introduce us as children to the world we're entering. Taken together, these eighty titles offer us fresh perspective on perennial problems, from the social consequences of epidemics to the rising inequality that Thomas More designed Utopia to combat and the patriarchal structures within and against which many of these books' heroines have to struggle, from the work of Murasaki Shikibu a millennium ago to that of Margaret Atwood today.

Around the World in 80 Books is a global invitation to look beyond ourselves and our surroundings, and to see our world and its literature in new ways.

  • Published: 16 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241501023
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $48.00

Praise for Around the World in 80 Books

It is always a pleasure to talk about books with David Damrosch, who has read all of them, and he is so eloquent and understanding about them all

Orhan Pamuk

An insightful journey into the books that have for so long captivated us. Profound, boundless and diverse

Jokha Alharthi, author of Celestial Bodies

Pleasurable and full of insights, Around the World in 80 Books is such a joyful journey through the places, times and people who have made our world literature. Every time I finished a chapter I felt an urge to discover or re-read the books whose stories Damrosch is telling so vividly - but that meant putting down his own book and I wasn't able do that...

Dror Mishani, author of The Missing File and Three

Restlessly curious, insightful, and quirky, David Damrosch is the perfect guide to a round-the-world adventure in reading. With such a companion, you never know where you will go next, but you can be confident that the encounter will be memorable. Count me in!

Stephen Greenblatt, author of TYRANT and THE SWERVE

A vast, fascinating latticework of books within books... This rewarding literary Baedeker will inspire readers to discover new places

Kirkus

Damrosch's richly conceived survey offers readers a colorful map for an illuminating, enlivening tour of their own libraries. Travel fans and literature lovers alike will find something to savor

Publisher's Weekly

A hymn to the unifying power of literature... Around the World in 80 Books takes us on a tour of the author's global head, and while expanding our knowledge it enlarges our capacity for fellow-feeling

Peter Conrad, Observer

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