Modernists were tempted by the totalitarian

Literary scholars have been far too interested in the history of literature and far too little interested in the literature of history. Conforming to a disciplinary tradition that still prevails, literature tends to be seen as a closed room, a world of its own alongside the world. There are threads running between one work and another but not between a work and external reality. Literature changes according to its own laws and independently of events in society or the era that it proceeds from. Literary scholars chart stylistic concepts and changes in narrative techniques, experimenting with meanings beyond the individual who created the work and removed from historical circumstances.

For decades, close reading was the norm for many of the interpretative strategies in literary studies following its powerful debut shortly after the second world war, when it quickly spread. The literary scholar’s eye was never for a moment supposed to leave the actual literary text. Ever...

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Peter Luthersson

Docent i litteraturvetenskap.

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