EVENT May 27
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The International Conference for the Study of the Novel First Edition: Reshaping Literary Lexicography after the Quantitative and the Digital Turn in the Study of the Novel

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Organization: Romanian Academy, Sextil Pu?cariu Institute of Linguistics and Literary History
Categories: Digital Humanities, Comparative, Literary Theory
Event Date: 2023-05-27 to 2023-05-28 Abstract Due: 2023-04-02

The transnational and the digital turns (Casanova 1999, Damrosch 2003, Bode 2012, Jockers 2013, Beebee 2014-2023), which marked literary studies in the last three decades, have found in the novel an ideal candidate for the exploration of new methodological and analytical instruments (Moretti 2000, Stanford Literary Lab 2011-2018, Warwick Research Collective 2015, Underwood 2016, Piper  2018). In equal parts recipient and generator of tensions and socio-economic, political, and cultural change, the novel as a literary genre regains its social function as a reflector and modulator of its source-culture, particularly at the local or regional levels. Thus, in all recent research projects, new issues emerge: the global circulation of imported literary forms (against the backdrop of the unequal modernization of central and peripheral cultures); their shift in function across different social, historical, and spatial contexts; the development of subgenres with national or regional particularities etc.

In the context of the development of a new literary criticism, receptive both to approaching national literatures as world literatures and to making use of statistical and computational methods in the sociological study of literature, researchers dealing with (semi)peripheral literary cultures take, after 2010, the first important steps towards a new way of reading literature. In Romania, these new orientations focused mainly on the novelistic production (both domestic and translated). The very first distant readings of this segment of cultural production were made possible through the Chronological Dictionary of the Romanian Novel (2004, 2011) and the Chronological Dictionary of Translated Novels in Romania (2005, 2017), two of the few national lexicographical instruments that have contributed significantly to the stabilization of the new research methods. Quantitative analyses have rekindled the interest for the sociological reading of the novel. For these approaches, literary lexicography became a crucial resource. Of relevance are both encyclopedic projects such as the Dictionnaire du roman (Yves Stalloni, 2006), The Encyclopedia of the Novel (Paul Schellinger, 2014), and more traditional bibliographies dedicated to topics, authors or genres from specific national literatures such as An Introductory Bibliography to the Study of Hungarian Literature (Albert Tezla, 1964), Hungarian Authors. A Bibliographical Handbook (Albert Tezla, 1970), Historical dictionary of U.S. Latino literature (Donald W. Urioste, Francisco A. Lomeli, 2017) or A dictionary of Chinese literature (Taiping Chang, 2017).

In order to advance and expand this research platform, the Romanian Academy’s “Sextil Pu?cariu” Institute of Linguistics and Literary History in Cluj-Napoca organizes the first edition of The International Conference for the Study of the Novel. Dedicated, on one side, to the potential of using traditional lexicographical instruments (dictionaries dedicated to authors, literary works, periodicals, bibliographies, critical references etc.) as (meta)databases for the study of the novel and, on the other, to redefining philological lexicography in light of the quantitative and the digital turn, this edition will focus on two main areas of interest. The first one regards ongoing or finished research projects that deal with systemic, transnational, quantitative or digital approaches to the novel and encourages the dissemination of their partial or final results. The second one concerns a theoretical discussion on the reshaping of research instruments for the study of the novel in the context of the new methodological shifts in literary studies, with a focus on individual applications and workshops that test out the advantages and challenges of dealing with these new methods.

Possible topics of discussion include, but are not limited to:

1.     Paradigm shifts in the study of the novel;

2.     Dictionaries of the novel: traditions and models;

3.     The reconversion of lexicographical instruments into (meta)databases – challenges, applications;

4.     The challenges of corpus selection: spaces, timeframes, forms;

5.     The novel in the (semi)peripheries: specific forms and functions;

6.     The evolution of novelistic subgenres: imports, exports, hybridizations;

7.     Archives of the novel. The transition from patrimonial curation to database creation;

8.     The novel as social literature reflecting the uneven development in modernity;

9.     Transdisciplinary specializations in the study of the novel.


Daiana Gardan