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Literature and Change in Europe is a Course

Literature and Change in Europe

Ended Jan 12, 2015

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Full course description

Starts October 20, 2014

The study of literary texts can be dramatically enriched if one takes into account the material form in which they are presented to the reader: print or non-print, book or magazine, manuscript or film adaptation, etc. In this course, we will focus on the relationships between text and medium, more precisely between the text and the other elements that may surround it (like illustrations) or between the text and the various material forms that shape it (like the digital hypertext format). These perspectives will be linked with fundamental issues of literary analysis (such as: what is actually the difference between fiction and non-fiction? or: what does it mean to say that a narrator is sincere and reliable?). Theoretical reflections and close readings alternate in this course, and we will take our examples from the classic and modern books that everybody is talking about, such as the work by W.G. Sebald, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, or Bret Easton Ellis.

The course consists of eight modules each focusing on a different topic and taught by a different university with faculty interaction and feedback provided.

Topics covered include:

  • Week One: Literature and Literacy in a changed media environment (Truyen)
  • Week Two: Extended literature: Introducing digital literature (Sanchez-Mesa)
  • Week Three: Literature & Photography (Baetens)
  • Week Four: Negotiating high culture and low culture at the treshold of Modernism: Literature and magazines, literature and illustrations (Meneghelli & Turci)
  • Week Five: Some narratological key concepts: generic framing, interpretive and evaluative regimes (Korthals-Altes)
  • Week Six: Creolising cultures in/and Europe: a Caribbean perspective (Van Haesendonck)
  • Week Seven: Fictionality beyond fiction: changes and exchanges in art and politics (Nielsen, Kjerkegaard and Mohring Reesdorf)
  • Week Eight: New Complex Narratives Across Media (Grishakova)


Participants in this course should have a thorough knowledge of at least one of the languages and literatures taught in the programme and have acquired scientific skills in the domain of literary studies (collecting information, knowledge of methodologies, analysis of and reporting on specific problems).

Participants should have an interest in literature, literary analysis and the larger debate about culture and literature.

Required Materials

The course treats on many books and journal articles that the students need to read. Although we make an effort to choose for publicly available materials, it might be that some titles need to be found at a library, in print or digital edition.

Jan Baetens

Jan Baetens

Professor in Literature and Culture

Jan Baetens is professor of cultural and literary studies at the University of Leuven in Belgium. He has published widely on word and image studies, often focusing on so-called minor genres (novelization, photonovel, comics). He is also the author of various studies on photography and (French) poetry, which remains another of his fields of interest.