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TitelSpace & Time in Literature, Media and the Arts

Summer Symposium 2007

Space & Time in Literature, Media and the Arts

Trinity Term 2007, 28th April 2007, University of Oxford


According to the Aristotelian definition of the three unities, time, space and plot are essential and equal elements of drama and by extension narrative fiction. Moreover, the three are closely related: any plot consists of actions in time and space. The constitutive status of time and space is also evident in the relation between painting and poetry as conceived by Simonides and Horace. Even though paintings depict bodies in space and stories present actions in time, Simonides and Horace still thought it appropriate to call them the ‘sister arts’. Poetry, drama and narrative could also depict bodies in space and paintings actions in time.

At the start of the modern period Lessing challenged that claim. In his treatise Laocoon he maintained that the visual arts are the media of space, because their signs are co-existent. The medium of literature, on the other hand, is essentially a medium of time, as it consists of successive signs, mirroring the linearity of actions.

Where do we stand today – 240 years after the publication of Lessing’s Laocoon – with regard to the relationship between space and time in literature, the media and the arts? Do we accept Lessing’s radical disjunction of space and time and of the arts associated with each? Are there forms of literature which try to depict one while leaving out the other? Thus, can there be literature with space and without time or with time and without space?

But more general questions can be asked about space, time and their relationship: Are there different types of space literature and other media open up, such as psychological space, emotional space or virtual space? What is their relationship? How do poets, writers and artists capture the difference in urban and rural space? Is language by itself necessarily spatial? Is time in literature essentially linear? If time is linear, is space always continuous? Is the treatment of time and space in lyric poetry different from that in other forms of literature? Do modern writers negotiate a new relationship between time, space and plot?

Our conference hopes to address these and similar questions related to the topic. We invite contributions on all periods, genres, media, and styles of German, Austrian, Swiss, and related literature and culture for a symposium to be held in Trinity Term 2007, 28th April 2007. Papers are welcome equally in German or English. If you want to present a paper, please send the title and a small abstract to by 31th March 2007.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Daniel Lambauer ( Abigail Dunn (

Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
PersonName: Lambauer, Daniel 
Funktion: Asprechpartner 
KontaktdatenName/Institution: University of Oxford, Faculty of Philosophy 
Strasse/Postfach: 10 Merton St. 
Postleitzahl: Oxford OX1 4JJ  
Stadt: Oxford 
Telefon: +44 1865 276926 
Fax: +44 1865 276932 
SchlüsselbegriffeHistorische Semantik (Wissensgeschichte, Mentalitätsgeschichte, Ideengeschichte); Medien- u. Kommunikationstheorie
Klassifikation03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.08.00 Poetik; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.15.00 Literatur und Medien
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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