The GSPoL is pleased to welcome Dr. Jan Behrs (Northwestern University) for a public lecture and masterclass on literary innovation.
Concepts of innovation, change and evolution are surprisingly underrepresented in literary theory. This may partly be due to literary history’s receding significance in the last decades, but even ahistorical perspectives on literature rely on ideas of literary innovation: It does not only concern literary (history)’s most basic structure, but also relates to questions of literary studies’ practice and self-conception. Its lack of theoretical foundation may evince its complexity. To render the term(s) productive, evaluative parameters (Who proclaims something as new because of which reasons?) and the rhetoric of innovation (How is literary innovation textually and perfomatively asserted?), next to basic questions of norm/tradition (What is the original condition which literary innovation is contrasting?) as well as questions of deviation (How and why is literary innovation transgressing norms?) have to be addressed.