On literariness: from post-structuralism to systems theory

TitleOn literariness: from post-structuralism to systems theory
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsJuvan, Marko
EditorTötösy de Zepetnek, Steven
Book TitleComparative literature and comparative cultural studies
Series TitleComparative cultural studies
PublisherPurdue University Press
CityWest Lafayette (Indiana)
Keywordscanon, literariness, post-structuralism, systems theory

In his text, "On Literariness: From Post-Structuralism to Systems Theory," Marko Juvan argues that the question of literariness concerns the very identity and social existence of not only literature per se but of literary theory as a discipline. A literary theorist is not only an observer of literature; he/she is also a participant who -- at least indirectly, via the a priori systems of science and education -- is engaged in constructing both the notion and the practice of literature as well as the study of literature. Literariness is neither an invariant cluster of "objectively" distinctive properties of all texts that are deemed literary nor is it merely a social, scholarly, and/or educational function. Rather, it can be defined as the effect of a text in the literary system, which is only possible on the basis of paradigms and conventions derived from the literary canon itself.