11/01/2016, by CLAS

Rethinking Literary Realism in Global Comparative Perspective – Leverhulme Trust funds Nottingham-led International Research Network

More than a hundred years ago the rise of the modernist avant-garde seemed to make obsolete the literary Realism that dominated nineteenth-century European literature. However, realist forms of representation remain well and truly alive in literature, and also in photography, film, and the digital media. The transformation and return of realist poetics after modernism and postmodernism, in popular as well as elite forms of cultural production, call for a reassessment of the profile and legacy of nineteenth-century Realism. Rejecting both the simplified understanding of Realism as a ‘mirror’ of reality and unhistorical universalism, we consider Realism a relational construct, premised on a self-reflexive (re)conceiving of the experience of reality through the mediation of literature, art and other media. We are interested in Realism as an ongoing experiment in the media-specific modelling of reality that proliferated across literature and other media into our own time.

We are delighted that the Leverhulme Trust has agreed to fund the Nottingham-led International Research Network “Landscapes of Realism: Rethinking Literary Realism(s) in Global Comparative Perspective”, a three-year comparative literature project that questions established, often national conceptions of Realism by radically rethinking the history, poetics and politics of realist modes of representation in literature, art, film and the digital media from the nineteenth century to the present day. It combines an interdisciplinary focus on literatures written in European languages with comparative consideration of other media and cross-cultural exchange, including with non-European language areas. The outcome will be a double volume in the ICLA (International Comparative Literature Association) series “Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages” with John Benjamins.
Professor Dirk Göttsche (School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, University of Nottingham) is the Principal Investigator of this network, which includes the Universities of Aarhus (Denmark) and Geneva (Switzerland), Durham, King’s College London, Queen Mary University London, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. The project has been endorsed by the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea, http://www.ae-info.org/ ) and the ICLA Coordinating Committee for the book series (CHLEL, https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/projects/chlel/ ).

Contact: Professor Dirk Göttsche, email: dirk.goettsche@nottingham.ac.uk .

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