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Cultures of Concern in Writing about Literature, 1850-1900
WhenWednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus locationDenny Hall (DEN)
Campus room359
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars

Public Lecture Series  ::  Winter 2020

Ervin Malakaj (University of British Columbia)

Much ink was spilled on writing about literature in the second half of the nineteenth century. Journalists, public intellectuals, and academics wrote extensively on the status of writing during a period of transition from the revolutionary promises of 1848 to the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871 and beyond. Recent scholarship has addressed how such public debates about literature shaped national belonging, showing how writing about the literary enterprise served to communicate a wondrous persistence of German literature throughout times of change. Such productive perspectives on debates about writing in the late nineteenth century are incomplete. This talk will show how the extensive archive of writing about literature (literary reviews, essays on literature, academic texts about the status of literature, and literary histories) by key figures in the industry shaped a culture of precarity for both established and emerging authors. Drawing on work in emotion studies and book history, the talk will reveal how this culture of precarity gave rise to a long tradition of concern about the status of literature that came to inform literary writing itself.

Reception to follow.

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