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Literary Characters. Where to?

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Organizer: Alberto Comparini

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Literary Characters. Where to?   Since the early 2000s, there has been a new character turn within literary theory and comparative literary studies: from Woloch’sThe One vs. The Many (2003), Fowler’s Literary Character (2003), and Palmer’s Fictional Minds (2004), up to the more recent Taha’s Heroizability (2014), Fictional Characters (2016, ed. by Hagberg), and Figlerowicz’s Flat Protagonists (2017), scholars from different disciplines and fields tried to propose a new reading of literary characters either from a theoretical or a historical perspective. However, the rivalry between these approaches has contributed to an overall fragmentation of character theory and the coexistence of viewpoints, as pointed out by Eder, Jannidis, and Schneider in their introduction to the edited volume Characters in Fictional Worlds (2010). Furthermore, despite very few exceptions––i.e., Winko’s essay On the Constitution of Characters in Poetry (2010) or Frow’s book Character and Person (2014)––, scholarship has mainly focused on character theory in narrative, specifically in novel, or has taken up other genres, such as poetry and drama, according to a narratological model (cf., for example, Theory into Poetry2005, ed. by Müller-Zettelmann and Rubik).  Following up this recent and rich debate, this panel invites interdisciplinary contributions that examine literary characters in narrative, poetry, and drama. On the one hand, this panel seeks to offer an account of the debate concerning literary character; on the other one, it aims at offering new theoretical perspectives on literary characters. We invite papers from all language traditions with an emphasis on the philosophical constitution of characters in literary works according to, but not limited to, four main areas: Hermeneutic: historical analysis of characters as representations of human beings; Psychoanalysis: approaches to characters through psycho-dynamic models of personality; Formalism: approaches to characters as sets of signifiers and textual forms; Cognitive studies: characters regarded as text-based constructs of the human mind. For any inquiries or expression of interest, feel free to contact me to  Please send your paper proposal through the system by September 23rd.  

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