New prospects in literary research

Harpham, G.G., Nünning, A. and Hilberdink, K. (ed.), Raad voor Geesteswetenschappen (RGW)

2005 | ISBN 90-6984-455-9 | gratis

In early 2004, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences published the foresight report 'Gij letterdames en gij letterheren. Nieuwe mogelijkheden voor taalkundig en letterkundig onderzoek in Nederland' [New opportunities for linguistic and literary research in the Netherlands]. One of the points raised in the report is that the object of literary research has changed. Not only does the field now concern itself with studying authors and genres that were regarded as 'peripheral' only a few decades ago, but it also explores other types of artistic expression as 'texts', whether they take the form of words, images or another medium. Literature is increasingly being regarded as only one of many different forms of representation which should be studied within the context of other cultural phenomena. In addition to contextualisation, interdisciplinary research has also become a key factor. Such research opens up new prospects for literature studies within our changing academic landscape, and challenges us to find a new place for it within the broader field of cultural studies. The shift in the object of literary research is a global phenomenon. Recent years have witnessed a lively debate in the Anglo-Saxon world and in other countries such as Germany concerning the way the academic domain of literature studies is evolving and the implications this has for future research. It is for this reason that the Academy's Council for the Humanities has appointed Geoffrey Galt Harpham and Ansgar Nünning, two prominent researchers from the United States and Germany respectively, to report on the debates in their own countries and describe the prospects for the future. The Council for the Humanities hopes that the publication of these lectures will stimulate discussion about the position and content of the field of literature studies.