CfP: Multisensory Encounters with the Literary (Journal „CounterText“, deadline: 10.02.2016)

This special issue of CounterText is interested in exploring encounters between literature and the multisensory. The importance of the multisensory as a category for debate and study arises from the impact of digital culture and the performative turn on story creation, production, and reception. In this context, literary texts – at least some of them or their adaptations – can increasingly be approached as ‘events’ or ‘performances’. In this aesthetic, reading does not necessarily remain the primary modality for the experience of that which we might or might not want to still call ‘literature’. The experience in question becomes, rather, characterised also by convergence and mediatic evolution. It may foreground forms such as ritual, gesture, music, dance, vernaculars, speech, and the body itself in ways that are themselves transformed by technology and 21st-century affordances. In the context of multisensory reception of such works and forms and of their interactions, perceptions of the literary and of the place of literature shift. It can well be asked, therefore, how the understanding of literature changes within a performance-oriented aesthetics that presumes multisensory modalities. Can new instantiations of the literary really be expected as a result, and what might their implications be? For this special issue, therefore, CounterText welcomes papers that consider how the space of literature is today animated, remixed, and transposed by an emerging dynamic of multisensory play, performance, and participation. Do embodied and/or performative manifestations of the literary serve as countertexts to the types of processes and experiences we engage in when reading books? And how does this post-literary reality position us, its readers?

The following list indicates possible points of discussion:

  • Poetry and the multisensory
  • Participatory literature
  • Performative histories of reading
  • The aesthetic illusion in 21st-century literature and multisensory works
  • Relational aesthetics and the multisensory
  • Sensoria of the spoken word
  • Digital representations of the literary
  • Typographical experiments in multisensory works
  • A literary politics of the senses
  • Literature and movement
  • Literature in Sound Art
  • Play aesthetics in multisensory textual encounters
  • Multisensory literature and the dream of a Gesamtkunstwerk

Potential contributors to the special issue may email the Guest Editor, Giuliana Fenech, for further information: The deadline for abstracts and paper proposals is 10 February 2016. Submissions are to be sent as an email attachment to by 15 May 2016. Accepted papers will appear in a special issue of CounterText to appear between winter 2016 and summer 2017.

For further guidelines on submissions and the style sheet, see

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