NorLit-conference 2007 - The Angel of History. Literature, History, and Culture.

Department of Finnish language and literature, University of Helsinki (Helsingin yliopisto – Helsingfors universitet)
Closing date for submissions: 
1 December, 2006
Event dates: 
15.08.2007 - 18.08.2007

NorLit-conference 2007

The Angel of History. Literature, History, and Culture


NORLIT 2007-conference will be held August 15–18.8.2007 in Helsinki . The conference is being organized by the department of Finnish language and literature at the University of Helsinki (Helsingin yliopisto – Helsingfors universitet).

Niina Roos
Nina Roos © the Artists and Visual Artist´Copyright Society Kuvasto 2000 (Copyright Notice), photo by Jussi Tiainen

The relationship between literature and history and the historicity of literary culture has become a problem and a major theoretical and practical challenge to literary scholars interested in history and the historicity of literature, following the problematizing of history-writing as well as the concept of history in recent years. On the one hand, we are not satisfied with the history of authors or literary works any more; the ambition is to write a history of literary cultures, or to show how literature works in history in interaction with other cultural discourses. On the other hand, the ideas of continuity and development in history have become increasingly problematical, while, at the same time, it is not easy to see how history, lacking teleological impetus or any resort to master narratives, can be written. The actuality of such problems is emphasized by the on-going project to write the History of Nordic Literary Cultures launched by ICLA.

We invite proposals that would cover the following three areas or aspects of the field. First, we are interested in the diachronic interrelationships between literature and other cultural fields. We ask how to configure literary works and adjacent cultural discourses from the point of view of literature, how to articulate the dialogue and the historicity of the dialogue between them.

Second, starting from the literary texts themselves, we ask how to relate the aesthetic artifact and the experience of historical change. Is it possible to read literature as a critical medium for historical cognition or to approach literature both as an articulation and a reflection or refraction of larger historical phenomena: to see it , with Adorno, as both autonomous and fait social? How do the literary forms, story-worlds or chronotopes relate to historical intra- and extra-literary traditions and processes.

Third, we propose an examination of literary transitions. How do literary currents, periodical discourses or styles emerge and how are they to be understood? Considering the influence and spread of “prototypes” or models leads to questions of “imitation”, translation and dialogue.


The organizing committee:


NORLIT 2007 -conference is financially supported by Nordbok, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Swedish Cultural Foundations, Nordic Culture Fund, Academy of Finland and The Finnish Graduate School of Literary Studies.

Partners in cooperation are the Finnish Literature Society and the City of Helsinki.