From Areas of Confinement to Zones of Contact. Concepts of Marginality in and the Limits of Literary Theory

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Susane Strätling


Literary theory has developed a wide spectrum of concepts of marginality, ranging from attempts at sharp demarcation to zones of exchange. While the poetological efforts of early formalism, for example, aim to establish an understanding of aesthetic difference, theorists such as Bakhtin prefer to focus on thresholds as spheres of intensified dialogue, and Lotman discusses the periphery as a site of transgressive communication. The talk considers these concepts against the backdrop of a basic question: to what extent does literary theory, in these models of edge, threshold, and periphery, reflect not only on boundaries in literature, but on the limitations of theoretical systems themselves?

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Theorizing Marginality