Literary Studies at Bergische Universität Wuppertal

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Study with flashcards and summaries for the course Literary Studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Exemplary flashcards for Literary Studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on StudySmarter:

What is a text type?

Exemplary flashcards for Literary Studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on StudySmarter:

What is the difference between analysis and interpretation?

Exemplary flashcards for Literary Studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on StudySmarter:

What is polyvalence?

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Exemplary flashcards for Literary Studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on StudySmarter:

What is a genre?

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The model for literary communication

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Narrow definition of literature

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Genre - examples

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Exemplary flashcards for Literary Studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on StudySmarter:

What is fictionality?

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Broad definition of literature

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Contextual and paratextual signals for fictionality

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What does poesis mean?

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What does mimesis mean?

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Exemplary flashcards for Literary Studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on StudySmarter:

Literary Studies

What is a text type?

"Genre" for non-fictional texts 

Literary Studies

What is the difference between analysis and interpretation?

'Textual analysis'

  • Systematic examination of a text in terms of its individual components

'Analysis'

  • Has less to do with relaying the meaning of a text than with describing its formal and thematic characteristics in the most precise way possible 

'Textual interpretation'

  • Focuses primarily on exploring the potential meanings of a text and formulating hypotheses concerning how it should be understood 
    • BUT! Precise analysis = prerequisite for the successful interpretation of a text
  • 'Readings'
    • Modern notion = there is no single meaning and correct interpretation of a literary text 
      • Variety of possible way of deriving a meaning from or attributing a meaning to a text 


Literary Studies

What is polyvalence?

Literary texts = allow for various interpretations, thanks to their internal ambiguities 

  • Considered a seal of quality rather than a flaw 

Literary texts are expected to accord the recipient a certain amount of freedom to construct meaning 

  • Offer a greater or lesser number of potential meanings -> which the reader has to negotiate 

Literary Studies

What is a genre?

'Genre' = derived from the biological term genus -> refers to a group of literary works that share significant characteristics in terms of content, form and/or function 

  • Do not only serve as a classificatory system for literary works but are also important signposts for authors and recipients 

Literary Studies

The model for literary communication

Author (addresser) produces a literary text (message) -> is the material basis or medium (channel) via which the message reaches the recipient or reader (addressee

  • If the addressee is to understand the text -> must share a common language and similar generic conventions (code) with the addresser 
  • Literary texts -> incorporate references to the historical or contemporary reality (context) -> are subject to techniques of auesthetic mediation 

Literary Studies

Narrow definition of literature

1. specific relationship to reality

  • fictionality 
  • creation of imaginative worlds 
  • no truth.claims, relaxed relationship to factuality 

2. particular use of language

  • deviation from everyday language
  • defamiliarisation
  • language itself is focused on/topic (poetic function)

3. specific (aesthetic) effect

  • emotional entertainment
  • catharsis 
    • Metaphor used by Aristotle comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of a spectator to the effect of catharsis on the body (purification of emotions)
  • delectare and prodesse
    •  "To instruct and to delight"/"to please and educate" -> Horace's definition of the aims of poetry

4. literariness as result of a set of conventions that govern our reading 

  • e.g. aesthetic convention, assumption of ambiguity and unity 
  • historicity 
  • social function of literature 

Literary Studies

Genre - examples

  • Three main genres 
    • Lyric 
    • Dramatic 
    • Narrative 
  • Genre of the essay 
  • Sermons and other religious writings 
  • Pedagogical tacts 
  • Moral weeklies and magazines 
  • Historiography
  • Travelogues 
  • Letters
  • Diaries and memoirs 
  • Fictional and non-fictional biographies and autobiographies 
  • Street ballads 
  • Pamphlets
  • Various form of popular literature 
  • Popular culture (reality TV, docu-drama, cyberpunk)

Literary Studies

What is fictionality?

The 'fictionality' of literary texts refers to the fabricated or imaginative nature of the worlds presented in literary texts 

  • Places and characters that feature in such texts = 'fictional' and/or 'fictive'

Literary Studies

Broad definition of literature

All written communications 


Literary Studies

Contextual and paratextual signals for fictionality

Contextual signals

  • Communication situations (theatre visits, poetry readings) 
  • Signals relating to the publishing process (certain publishing houses are known for specialising in 'fiction', whereas others publish mainly 'non-fiction' books) 
  • External presentation of a book

Paratextual signals

  • Title and subtitle 
  • Subdivisions of the text 
  • Generic terms such as 'novel' or 'comedy'
  • Legal disclaimers ('any similarity to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental'

Literary Studies

What does poesis mean?

The term poesis emphasises that literature creates independent models of reality with specifically literary tools 

  • Question of the relationship between literature and reality = superseded by the question of how literary texts transform the knowledge, the experiences & the values and norms of the period in which they have their genesis 

Literary Studies

What does mimesis mean?

The term mimesis = considers literature's relationship to reality to be grounded in its imitation of the real world

  • Modern view = literary texts do not merely imitate extra-literary contexts 
    • Rather = reality and literary texts are in dynamic interplay 

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