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Ergebnisanzeige "Versuche über den Roman: Life and Literature after Lukács"
RessourcentypCall for Papers
TitelVersuche über den Roman: Life and Literature after Lukács
Versuche über den Roman: Life and Literature after Lukács
26th Annual Graduate Student Conference
German Department, Yale University
April 10-11, 2015

Keynote Speaker: Eva Geulen (Frankfurt/Main)

“At first it was meant to take the form of a series of dialogues: a group of young people withdraw from the war psychosis of their environment, just as the storytellers of the Decameron had withdrawn from the plague; they try to understand themselves and one another by means of conversations, which gradually lead to the problems discussed in the book. [...] On closer consideration I dropped this plan and wrote the book as it stands today.”
– Georg Lukács

Written exactly a hundred years ago, ”in the Winter of 1914-15,” Georg Lukács’ “Theorie des Romans” is perhaps the only work that truly looks to the ‘novel’ in order to develop its ‘theory.’ Yet as Lukács would write in his 1962 preface, he had never conceived it that way. In “a mood of permanent despair over the state of the world,” the only solution for Lukács seemed to be a restaging of a literary work: a group of young people in conversation, out of harm’s way attempting to make sense of the world by discussing the novel. Yet neither conversation nor escape was a possible response to this world; theory proved to be the only remaining mode of discourse. What Friedrich Schlegel a hundred years before Lukács could still choose as the framework for his “Brief über den Roman”––namely, a conversation that is both literature and theory––had become void.

The conference celebrates the centennial of Lukács’ seminal book by bringing theory back into the conversation and reflecting on the novel before and after Lukács. Given that the terms ‘novel’ and ‘theory’ are both elusive terms, what is the motivation for a ‘theory of the novel?’ What can a theory of the novel provide that the novel itself cannot? Indeed, most works that try to think the relation of theory to the novel, from Friedrich von Blanckenburg’s “Versuch über den Roman” (1774) to Milan Kundera’s “L’Art du Roman” (1986) are merely self-described ‘Versuche,’ ‘essays’ or ‘attempts,’ a fact that belies a resistance to theory already inscribed within the novel itself. This failure to conceive a comprehensive theory of the novel may well be a symptom of the development of the modern understanding of literature, which coincides with the decline of the genre poetics of epic, lyric, and drama. Thus, from the 17th century works of Cervantes, to Zola’s “Roman Experimental,” Kafka’s fragmented prose, and Joyce’s stream of consciousness narratives, the modern novel has always challenged its very existence as a distinct genre.

For the last century, Lukács’ “Theory of the Novel” has continued to pose many fundamental questions not only for individual works of literature but for the idea of literature as such. Both Lukács’ theory of the novel and what later became literary theory assume a relation between life and literature that is very different than earlier poetologies, a shift that, because of its widereaching consequences for literary studies, still needs to be adequately grasped. In reflecting on this tradition, we do not intend to merely commemorate Lukács’ book, but rather to reclaim its most important questions for the present moment. In this respect, we see this conference as a Decameronian endeavor, which brings a group of young people together to converse about the forms of great epic literature. Though we may not convene for ten days, perhaps our conversations will be worthy of ten decades of life and literature after Lukács.

We welcome contributions from a wide variety of disciplines that may or may not directly address Lukács’ book. Possible paper topics include:

- Theories of the novel, literary theory, ontology of literature, poetics and poetology
- Novel and genre, the rise of the novel, history and historiographies of the novel
- Literary theory and the novel as its object: literary criticism, literary hermeneutics, narratology, formalism, structuralism, new criticism, etc.
- Lukács’ concepts of form, “Unform”, form of life, life, the demonic, etc.
- Hegelianism and Marxism in Lukács; “Geschichtsphilosophie” and theory
- Lukács and his contemporaries, critics, and readers (Bertolt Brecht, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Karl Mannheim, Paul de Man, Jay M. Bernstein, Judith Butler, etc.)
- Lukács’ readings of Cervantes, Goethe, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, etc. in "Theory of the Novel"
- "The Theory of the Novel" within Lukács’ oeuvre; his own retraction of this book (in the preface from 1962)
- Other attempts and failures of novel theories (Blanckenburg, Schlegel, Zola, Bakhtin, Hamburger, Blumenberg, Barthes, Kundera, Moretti, etc.)
- The novel as a medium of its own crisis (Diderot, Sterne, Keller, Melville, Proust, Kafka, Joyce, Döblin, Woolf, Musil, Sartre, Beckett, Pynchon, Foster Wallace, etc.)
- Realism and theory of the novel; modalities of realism: describing, depicting, narrating, formalizing
- Film theory and the novel, Lukács’ writings on film
- Possible successions of the novel (and the return of the epic) in the 20th and 21st century: cinema, television, TV series, etc.

The deadline for submissions is February 28th, 2015. Please send your abstracts (around 300 words) to Participants will be notified by March 5th, 2015.

Conference organizers: Anna Alber, Florian Fuchs, Ole Hinz, Adrian Renner
Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
Verknüpfte Ressource
VeranstaltungsortNew Haven, USA
PersonName: Hinz, Ole 
Funktion: Koordinator 
KontaktdatenName/Institution: Department of German, Yale University 
Strasse/Postfach: William L. Harkness Hall (WLH), 3rd Floor P.O. Box 208210 
Postleitzahl: CT-06520-8210 
Stadt: New Haven, CT 
LandVereinigte Staaten von Amerika
SchlüsselbegriffeLiteraturwissenschaft; Komparatistik (Kulturvergleich, Interkulturelle Literaturwissenschaft); Literatur 1770 - 1830; Literatur 1830 - 1880; Literatur 1880 - 1945; Literatur nach 1945; Literaturtheorie: Themen; Medien- u. Kommunikationstheorie
Klassifikation03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.06.00 Literaturtheorie; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.07.00 Ästhetik; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.08.00 Poetik; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.15.00 Literatur und Medien; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.16.00 Literarisches Leben; 05.00.00 Deutsche Literaturgeschichte > 05.09.00 Gattungen und Formen
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