Call for Articles: Journal of Literary Theory Vol. 10, No. 2 (2016)

2016 wird ein JLT-Themenheft über „Functions of Literature“ erscheinen, für das bereits jetzt Beiträge erwünscht sind (Submission Deadline: 01.03.2016). Näheres weiter unten bzw. auf der JLT-Website:

„What good is literature? What is literature’s function for authors and readers or in social, cultural, historical and evolutionary contexts? Questions such as these have been discussed ever since reflection on literature (and art in general) began, even though they have rarely been explored in greater detail. Numerous functions have been suggested, ranging from entertainment and pleasure to emotional responses, aesthetic experience and the potential to provide certain insights and convey knowledge, among others. Assumptions relating to literature’s functions prove central to different theories of literature. They influence the respective notions of literature and guide scholarly thinking. Not least, they have an impact on the way literary criticism as a discipline is conceived and serve to justify research projects.

More recently, in different areas of research there is an increasing interest in certain topics that include a conception of literature’s functions. Publications on e.g. the relation between literature and knowledge, emotional responses to literature, and the ethical potential or the aesthetic qualities of literary texts appear in larger numbers. However, it is noticeable that rarely an attempt is made to provide empirical evidence for theoretical assumptions on literature’s functions.

JLT invites papers on topics that include, but are not limited to:

  • The concept of ›function‹ is used in several areas of research and in different ways. What can (and should) ›function‹ mean with regard to literary texts or artworks in general?

  • What functions can be reasonably assigned to literature or art? How can they be classified? Which functions are particularly important?

  • Exploration of individual functions: cognitive, emotional, aesthetic, and ethical functions, critique and subversion, hedonistic functions, therapeutic functions.

  • What conception of literature’s function is central to different theories of literature, e.g. Cognitive Poetics, Literary Darwinism, Ethical Criticism or Postcolonial Studies?

  • What are the functions of literature in different institutions like e.g. educational contexts or the book market?

  • What role have assumptions relating to the functions of literature played in the history of the academic disciplines concerned with literature? What is the role of such assumptions in these disciplines today?

Articles that rely on empirical evidence or present the results of empirical investigations are of particular interest. We encourage submissions from all language and literature departments as well as neighbouring disciplines, e.g. the philosophy of art, media studies, art history, and musicology. Articles in which individual literary texts or a corpus of literary texts are interpreted can only be considered if their focus is a systematic and theoretical one.

Contributions should not exceed 50,000 characters in length and have to be submitted by March 1, 2016. Please submit your contribution electronically via our website under »Articles«.“

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