Literatures without Frontiers? Perspectives for a Transnational Literary History of the Low Countries
Traditional literary historiography is rooted in the 19th-century construction of national literatures based on the political desire to demarcate national states and their corresponding linguistic identities from each other. For the study of the literature that predates the 19th-century nationstate – the literature of the period that will be central in this conference (1200-1800) – the taxonomy of literary phenomena on the basis of geographical frontiers that were in most cases non-existent at the time, is a highly artificial though very common practice. In our view, the study of literature in this long period is better served by a transnational perspective, if only because of the transnational character of its functioning. On account of their limiting focus, nationally oriented literary histories of the periods in question cannot but undervalue the actual cultural processes at work both in the international ‘Republic of Letters’ as well as in the language regions that exceed the borders of the current nation states.
This conference brings together telling examples for a transnational perspective for the construction of the literary histories of the Low Countries between 1200 and 1800. Papers will address transnational case studies that have fallen outside the scope of current literary historiography or whose impact and importance could be brought out differently in a transnational framework. Also the literary infrastructure that enabled the cross-border reception of literary texts will be addressed. This academic event is a joint initiative from the universities of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ghent, Leiden, Leuven, Nijmegen, Utrecht and The Constantijn Huygens Institute (KNAW). The conference is supported by Ghent University and the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature (KANTL), funded by FWO-Flanders.
This conference will be organised by the universities of Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven, Amsterdam, Nijmegen, Utrecht and the Constantijn Huygens Institute (KNAW).
Programme and registration: http://www.literatureswithoutfrontiers.ugent.be/