Henning Mankell's detective is always uneasy around those alien characters (the typographical kind).
MOOC seems to have swept us up in its wave. Dazed, many of us don’t know which way to turn. To put MOOC in perspective, let me describe a program that sails against this tide.
We too find ourselves in a modernidad tardía. That is what my audience reported to me at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogota where I had come to present a series of seminars on Greek culture through the support of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
Are we forcing the world to conform to our own image of it? Are we asking foreign authors to fashion pictures of their societies that fulfill our own perceptions, desires, and fears?
The world is text. Mallarmé and Flaubert described this possibility at the end of the nineteenth century and Derrida proclaimed it again more recently. But now we can say that the world is literature. It is turning literary through the Internet.
You’d think from current writing on transnationalism that our interconnected society is an exceptional time in human affairs. Reading work on globalization, by either academics or journalist, you get the impression that we are experiencing a unique phenomenon. Writers are so taken by contemporary developments that they forget to set them in a historical context.
There must be something right with a country, when your guide talks to you on your hike outside Bogota about his love for Llosa, Cortázar, Hemingway, Kazantzakis, and Tolstoy. And then at the end of the hike he asks for a list of novels and poets he should read!
Am I living in the wrong country or what?
God knows, exile and wandering is as old as the hills, and some of the world's greatest stories are about this Odyssey or another.