Konference - Central European Literary Theory: Sources, Context, and Dissemination

Central European Literary Theory: Sources, Context, and Dissemination

Questions of what Central Europe is, whe re its borders are, and how we may characterize it, have been considered for a long time. A lot of prominent writers, historians, philosophers, and literary theorists have joined in debates of these topics in the last years and decades. According to many o f them, Central Europe is not just an area spreading from Germany to Russia, and from the Baltic to the Adriatic seas, but primarily it is a space characterized by a specific cultural milieu. The countries, cultures and nations present in this space are co nnected by something we might call a shared historical memory, a cultural and political experien ce and, without doubt, shared experience of research activities. This is illustrated by numerous scientific findings, approaches and theories that were produced , developed and disseminated in the Central European space in the 19 th and 20 th centuries. Focusing on literary theory and linguistics, which are inseparable in this context , one needs to admit that the Central European space was exceptionally prosperous i n creating, disseminating and interconnecting new linguistic and literary theoretical concepts d eveloped by the Vienna Circle, the Prague Linguistic Circle, the Bratislava Linguistic Circle, and others. The Prague Linguistic Circle in particular was a sort of (Central European) scientific and sociocultural crossroads from its foundation in 1926. Czechs , Slovaks, Germans, Russians, Ukrainians and members of various other nations were present at its meetings. Ideas both domestic and foreign were exchanged. A lot of issues were discussed in the environment of the Circle, such as Ferdinand de Saussure’s l inguistics and semiology, functionalism, Russian formalism (Roman Jakobson, Viktor Shklovsky, and Yuri Tynyanov), phenomenology (Edmund Husserl, Roman Ingarden, and Gustav Shpet), the arts and culture, as well as findings, theories and methods of various d isciplines of the social studies. This was the environment that gave birth to structuralism (Vilém Mathesius, Bohuslav Havránek, Jan Mukařovský, and Felix Vodič ka), phonology (Nikolai Trubetzkoy), and modern semiotics. Some aesthetic and philosophical conc eptions also played an important role in Central Europe. Among them, the aesthetic formalism of Johann Friedrich Herbart deserves a mention, as it co nnected Prague with Vienna , as well as Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology and philosophical conceptions of the Budapest School, namely Georg Lukács and his interpretation of Marxism and modern literature. Both Slovak František Miko and Anton Popovič) and Polish Michał Głowiński and Janusz Sławiński) schools of interpretation and semiotics have made an impact on the history of literary criticism The main aim of the conference Central European Literary Theory: Sources, Context, and Dissemination is to provide space to revise some of literary theory and criticism ’s findings , and for a more general discussion of particular literary theoretical and linguistic conceptions created and disseminated in the Central European space in the 20th century despite the complexities of its historical and political developments. The conference also aims to commemorate Roman Jakobson’s departure from Brno and Czechoslovakia in 1939 linguistics and literary theory would be different today without his influence, energy, and creative initiative. This holds also outside the Central European space.

Brno, September 2. - 6. 2019
Department of Czech Language and Literature
Faculty of Education, Masaryk University
Galery RUV
Poříčí 9 , 603 00 Brno

Katedra českého jazyka a literatury (Pedagogická fakulta)
doc. PhDr. Ondřej Sládek, Ph.D.
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