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From History to Literary History: An Eighteenth-Century Phenomenon and Its Aftermath


University of Bucharest


Like any other cultural institution, literature has a history, as does history itself. Part of the discourse of modernity, disciplinary separation is a reality which seems so ‘natural’ that we have simply taken it for granted. Yet, interdisciplinary studies, in abundance in recent years, testify to the contrary. And why are we turning back to pre-disciplinary separation? The short answer could be: we have only been used to disciplines some two hundred odd years, our long memory operates in an interdisciplinary manner. This paper looks at some topoi of literary specificity as it halts to consider a few moments in the sedimentation of literature and literary history.

Keywords: Culture, cultural institution, literature, literary history, modernity, disciplines, disciplinary separation, Interdisciplinary Studies

Research for Mihaela Irimia's article “From History to Literary History: An Eighteenth-Century Phenomenon and Its Aftermath”, published in American, British and Canadian Studies, the Journal of the Academic Anglophone Society of Romania, no. 12, Sibiu, June 2009, pp. 14-26 (ISSN 1841-1487) has been partially supported by UEFISCSU grant no. 871/2009[code 1980] for a research project titled The Cultural Institution of Literature from Early to Late Modernity in British Culture.


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