• Around the World in 80 Books

  • By: David Damrosch
  • Narrated by: David Damrosch
  • Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Featured in the Chicago Tribune's Great 2021 Fall Book Preview * One of Smithsonian Magazine's Ten Best Books About Travel of 2021

Inspired by Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard University’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 80 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 Prize winners Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mo Yan, and Olga Tokarczuk, he explores how these works have shaped our idea of the world, and the ways in which 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 80 titles offer us fresh perspective on enduring problems, from the social consequences of epidemics to the rising inequality that Thomas More designed Utopia to combat, as well as 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 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.

©2021 David Damrosch (P)2021 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“It is always a pleasure to talk about books with David Damrosch, who has read all of them, and he is so eloquent about them all.” (Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize-winning novelist)  

“An insightful journey into the books that have long captivated us. Profound, boundless, and diverse.” (Jokha Alharthi, author of the Man Booker International Prize-winning 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

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Enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite books and being introduced

Enjoyed revisiting many of my favorite books
And being introduced to many titles new to me.