"This introduction to literary studies is set to become the standard for the next generation. With its attention to the narrative, cultural, and (inter)medial dimensions of the 'life of texts', it skillfully provides access to a rich and dynamic field. Highly recommended as a reliable and immensely readable companion to all graduate and postgraduate students of modern literatures."
Astrid Erll, Professor of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at Goethe University Frankfurt
This innovative introduction to literary studies takes 'the life of texts' as its overarching frame. It provides a conceptual and methodological toolbox for analysing novels, poems, and all sorts of other texts as they circulate in oral, print, and digital form. It shows how texts inspire each other, and how stories migrate across media. It explains why literature has been interpreted in different ways across time. Finally, it asks why some texts fascinate people so much that they are reproduced and passed on to others in the form of new editions, in adaptations to film and theatre, and, last but not least, in the ways we look at the world and act out our lives.
The Life of Texts is designed around particular issues rather than the history of the discipline as such. Each chapter concentrates on a different aspect of 'the life of texts' and introduces the key debates and concepts relevant to its study. The issues discussed range from aesthetics and narrative to intertextuality and intermediality, from reading practices to hermeneutics and semiotics, popular culture to literary canonisation, postcolonial criticism to cultural memory. Key concepts and schools in the field have been highlighted in the text and then collected in a glossary for ease of reference. All chapters are richly illustrated with examples from different language areas.
Kiene Brillenburg Wurth is professor of Literature and Comparative Media at Utrecht University.
Ann Rigney is professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University.