Even though it puts into question the equation of the world with the spatial
extensiveness of the globe, a book that takes as its subject something as large as
the world and literature’s relation to the world is necessarily the product of
intellectual conversations that have stretched across the globe. Special thanks
to Jonathan Culler, Elizabeth Grosz, and David Wang Der-­wei for reading the
manuscript, Benedict Anderson and Caroline Hau for invaluable feedback on
the epilogue, Wendy Larson for her insightful comments on chapter  7, and
Zachary Manfredi for his careful reading of chapters 4 and 5. Peter Fenves and
Simon Gikandi ­ were exemplary manuscript reviewers. This book is stronger be-
cause of their incisive comments. Nuruddin Farah and Amitav Ghosh patiently
answered factual questions about their writing.
Earlier versions of chapters ­ were presented at the Beijing Foreign Lan-
guages University, Binghamton University, Birkbeck, University of London,
the University of British Columbia, Cornell University, Ehwa Woman’s Uni-
Florida State University, Georgetown University, Goldsmiths, University of ­versity,
London, the University of Hong Kong, Indiana University, the University
of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Manchester, National Chung-­hsing
University, National Taiwan University, the National University of Singapore,
New York University, Northwestern University, the University of Oregon at
Eugene, Oxford University, Peking University, the University of Pennsylvania,
Seoul National University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Stanford Univer-
sity, Thammasat University, the University of Washington at Seattle, and the
University of Zürich. I would like to thank my interlocutors on these occa-
sions, especially Samuel Weber, Susannah Gottlieb, Costas Douzinas, J. Hillis
Miller, Andrea Riemenschnitter, Rita Felski, Ramon Saldivar, Dai ­Jinhua,
Franco Moretti, David Damrosch, Haun Saussy, Annu Jalais, Elizabeth
Anker, Natalie Melas, Robert Young, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Sneja Gunew,
Ankhi Mukherjee, Elleke Boehmer, Alessia Ricciardi, Vicente Rafael, Lau-
rie Sears, Walter Cohen, Neil Saccamano, Leslie Adelson, Robin Goodman,
Vinay Dharwadker, Susan Stanford Friedman, Robert Guay, Jini Kim Watson,
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