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The Life of Texts

An Introduction to Literary Studies

Kiene Brillenburg Wurth Ann Rigney

432 pages
Amsterdam University Press
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.
Author Bio
Kiene Brillenburg Wurth is professor of Literature and Comparative Media at Utrecht University.Ann Rigney is Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University. She has published widely on theories of cultural memory and on memory cultures in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her books include The Afterlives of Walter Scott (OUP, 2021) and Transnational Memory (co-edited with C. De Cesari, De Gruyter, 2014). She is Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project Remembering Activism: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe (ReAct) (2019–2024).