Litteraturvetenskapen i framtiden

Från kanoncentrerad subaltern till litterärt medveten samhällsaktör


  • Torsten Pettersson Uppsala universitet, Litteraturvet inst



crisis of literature, scholarly identity, literariness, value conflicts, applied literary scholarship, bibliotherapy, generalised intellectual training


Literary Scholarship in the Future: From Canon-Centred Subaltern to Literary-Minded Social Participant

Appreciation of literature and literary scholarship has arguably been on the wane in the twenty-first century. In this article, I argue that literary scholarship, in response to this declining interest, needs to be reformed. Literary scholars should continue to study literature from all historical periods, but they need to deal with the conflict between the democratic values of contemporary readers and pre-1968 sexism and racism in literature. This blight on the reading experience cannot be removed by the one-sided measures of historicism or presentism.

Rather than marginalizing popular literature, children’s literature, and non-Western literature, scholars should integrate this body of work into the core of literary studies and accord them roughly half of their interest alongside canonized Western literature for adults. Literary scholars should also be prepared to present their teaching curricula as a development of skills that can be used in the processing and evaluation of any kind of text in any kind of employment in a company or a government agency.

Furthermore, rather than produce literary readings mainly in terms of content, scholars should highlight the synergy of content and literary qualities such as form, fictionality and generalizability. This will allow them to valorize the enhanced understanding of real-life phenomena offered by literary works in the form of socially useful “applied literary scholarship.” The fields of operation for literary studies should include schools; the training of professionals, such as doctors and economists; and bibliotherapy designed to alleviate anxiety and malaise before it develops into a mental condition requiring treatment in a healthcare system that is already stretched beyond its capacity.


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Referera så här

Pettersson, T. (2022). Litteraturvetenskapen i framtiden: Från kanoncentrerad subaltern till litterärt medveten samhällsaktör. Tidskrift för Litteraturvetenskap, 51(3-4).