Bio-bibliography + Videoclip


David Damrosch

2023 Balzan Prize for World Literature

For his creative approach to world literature as a transnational circulation of works that remain alive because they are embraced and changed beyond their culture of origin. For his stupendous knowledge of Western and non-Western literatures in all their geographical breadth and historical depth.

David Damrosch, born on 13 April 1953, is a US citizen.

He is Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University and Director of the Institute for World Literature, which he founded in 2010. He is a past president of the American Comparative Literature Association.

He obtained his B.A. at Yale College in 1975 and his Ph.D. in 1980 at Yale University, Department of Comparative Literature, then taught at Columbia University from 1980 until he moved to Harvard in 2009. He has lectured in more than fifty countries, and his work has been translated into sixteen languages.

Member of Academia Europaea (2012-), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017-), PEN (a worldwide association of writers; 2008-), and the Stockholm Collegium of World Literary History (2009-22), he also holds a Doctor h.c. of Letters from the University of Bucharest (2011). Editorial board memberships: Journal of World Literature (co-editor in chief), Arcadia, Comparative Literature Studies, Comparative Literature in China, Textxet: Studies in Comparative Literature (Rodopi), Translation.

Among his most important books:

Around the World in 80 Books. Penguin Press (US); Pelican (UK), 2021. Chinese and Romanian translations; others forthcoming.

Comparing the Literatures: Literary Studies in a Global Age. Princeton UP, 2020; paperback 2022. Chinese, French, and Romanian translations.

How to Read World Literature. Blackwell, 2009 (expanded second edition, 2016). Translations: Chinese, Persian, Turkish, selections in Vietnamese.

The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh. Holt, 2007. Translation: Arabic.

What Is World Literature? Princeton UP, 2003. Translations: Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, and French; selections in Estonian, Polish, and Tibetan.

Meetings of the Mind. Princeton UP, 2000; paperback 2010. Translation: Polish. (co-ed. Bhavya Tiwari) World Literature and Postcolonial Studies, Brill, 2023.

(ed. and trans.) Georges Ngal, Giambatista Viko; ou, Le viol du discours africain, and Giambatista Viko; or, The Rape of African Discourse. Modern Language Association, 2 vols., 2022.

(co-ed. Bergur Moberg) Ultraminor World Literatures. Brill, 2022.

(ed.) World Literature in Theory. Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

(ed.) Teaching World Literature. Modern Language Association of America, 2009.

(co-ed. David L. Pike) The Longman Anthology of World Literature. 6 vols, New York, Longman, 2004 (several revised new editions).

We Scholars: Changing the Culture of the University. Harvard UP, 1995.

The Narrative Covenant: Transformations of Genre in the Growth of Biblical Literature. Harper & Row 1987; paperback, Cornell University Press, 1991.

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