Hercules at the Crossroads: Comparative Literature studies between scientism and humanism
After the collapse of Theory, and within the walls of reified universities governed according to market economy principles, the opposition between the scientistic and the humanistic aspects of Comparative Literature studies seems more urgent than ever. Taking as its starting point two monumental books from 1949, written by the prominent US professors of literature, Gilbert Highet and René Wellek, this article argues that a reinforced scientism now places an alarmingly great amount of pressure on humanism and the common good.
Borghild Krane's Følelsers forvirring (1937) [Confused Emotions] – a queer reading of Norway's first lesbian novel
This article presents a queer reading of Borghild Krane's novel Følelsers forvirring (1937) [Confused Emotions]. Using queer strategies this analysis focuses on how the «lesbianism» of the protagonist is constructed and how it is positioned in relation to «heterosexuality». The title of the novel suggests that «lesbianism» is a sexual and gendered «confusion» arising from a heterosexual reality. Thus, the main strategy of the novel is to present an apologetic narrative proving that the individual cannot be held responsible for his/her sexual orientation. The novel presents a twofold strategy in its discussion of «lesbianism», relating this to its two protagonists: Åse maintains a repressive strategy, arguing that restraining her sexuality will benefit both her and society. Her friend Randi develops an extrovert strategy where she wants to live openly as a lesbian and she argues in a gay-lesbian manner, advocating her individual rights. In the heteronormative reality of the novel, only Åse survives, suggesting that abstinence is the only acceptable lesbian sexuality. The article further investigates how contemporary psychoanalytic theory (i.e. psychoanalysis) is a precondition for the «explanation» of homosexuality and lesbianism. Further I present a number of lacunae in the heteronormative matrix of the novel suggesting that it is not entirely heteronormative.
Bourgeois Protestant ethics and Jewish speculative capitalism in Alexander L. Kielland
The hypothesis of this article is that Alexander L. Kiellands novels participate in a wide economic discourse of the 19th century, which negotiated between a bourgeois Protestant ethic and a speculative mode of economic praxis. In the 19th century this capitalistic mode was often connected to the Jews, and I will argue that Kielland in his last novel Jacob (1891) uses the same motives which often were used in connection with the «economic Jew» to describe his protagonist Tørres Snørtevold.
This article focuses on values, norms and expectations in the German theatre field coming into conflict with the first plays of the still unknown Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse. Hans-Thies Lehmann has claimed that the theatre of drama has lost its dynamic potential. But reading the German reviews one observes that the values assigned to Fosse's early theatre plays are solidly embedded in the paradigm of dramatic theatre. There was still little openness to Fosse's 'no more dramatic theatre texts' when they were introduced in German theatre in the year 2000. Faced with Fosse's focus on the materiality of language and a destabilization of the perception of reality, many theatre critics find Fosse's theatre hard to 'decode' and understand. Many critics reject replacing the traditional focus on representation by a multi-perspective structure of perception.
The long road to understanding: Paul Ricur and the epistemological function of literature
This article suggests that the function of literature in Paul Ricurs philosophical work is best explained in the light of his dialogical approach to understanding, favouring methodological strategies such as the bridge building position and the detour. It will show that literature is a privileged detour in Ricur's philosophy, and of crucial importance to his efforts to understand human beings and the constitution of self-knowledge. Ricur has not elaborated on any systematic aesthetics, but some aesthetic principles nevertheless emerge in his works, particularly through his theories on language, text and narrative. According to Ricur, the work of art – including literary fiction– may be considered as a particular kind of action. Finally the article discusses Ricur's view on literature and its potential impact on literary theory today.