Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

The "Slovenian" World Literature: Locating World Literature in a National Literary System

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.07.00  Humanities  Literary sciences   

Code Science Field
H390  Humanities  General and comparative literature, literary criticism, literary theory 

Code Science Field
6.02  Humanities  Languages and Literature 
world literature, Slovenian literature, literary system, world-systems, literary and cultural transfer
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  29396  PhD Monika Deželak Trojar  Literary sciences  Junior researcher  2010 - 2013  116 
2.  02553  PhD Marjan Dolgan  Literary sciences  Researcher  2010 - 2013  1,146 
3.  21450  PhD Marijan Dović  Literary sciences  Researcher  2010 - 2013  584 
4.  30792  PhD Jernej Habjan  Literary sciences  Researcher  2011 - 2013  194 
5.  06442  PhD Marko Juvan  Literary sciences  Head  2010 - 2013  733 
6.  01397  PhD Alenka Koron  Humanities  Researcher  2010 - 2013  257 
7.  16207  PhD Matija Ogrin  Literary sciences  Researcher  2010 - 2013  492 
8.  04280  MSc Jola Jožica Škulj  Literary sciences  Researcher  2010 - 2013  342 
9.  24714  PhD Luka Vidmar  Literary sciences  Researcher  2010 - 2011  497 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,024 
The three-year project will develop a theory of a world literary system and, using a transdisciplinary approach (comparative literature, polysystems theory, literary and cultural history, cultural semiotics, the history of cultural transfers, books, and social networks), will endeavor to prove the following hypotheses using material from Slovenian literature from the 17th c. to the mid-20th c.: · Since the 18th c., Slovenian literature – seen as a peripheral central European system situated in the economic and political semi-periphery – has been establishing national identity, textual and institutional structure, and repertoire through autopoetic reference to its own cultural memory, strengthening the conventions of aesthetic autonomy, as well as internationally through the awareness of the linguo-cultural alterity of its European contexts and its relations to the world literary system: by adopting and altering European translinguistic matrices, through cultural transfers and interferences with repertoires of classical and modern, national literatures (central and peripheral); · Cosmopolitan foundations for Slovenian fiction were laid earlier, especially in Baroque learned culture and rhetorical prose; · World literature – defined as the system of transnational literary interactions, a value concept, and a universal canon – has been establishing and reproducing itself from the 19th c. onwards through particular nationally perceived literary systems (such as the Slovenian one) and their local perspectives and repertoires; its structure has been influenced by unequal relationships between systemic centers and the peripheries; · The world periphery, including the “small” Slovenian literary system, is structurally mainly receptive. However, its mere position and its syncretic inventions are essential for the existence of the world system and the reproduction of its centers. The project’s premise is that world literature is always “glocalized.” Every national literature, every region, migration, and multicultural space, has its own version of world literature, even Slovenia. It is referred to as “Slovenian” world literature. The project follows the development of Slovenian notions of world literature and its versions of the world canon. It historically examines the progress of cultural transfer and the intertextual reshaping of the world literary system archives. The final goal is to ascertain how Slovenian literature positioned itself in the world (virtually and, exceptionally, in reality) during the course of its development. The purpose of the project is to study the typology and development of relationships between the world literary system and the Slovenian literary system, all the while providing answers to the following questions: How and in what kind of material conditions did awareness of foreign cultures, civilizations, and world literature develop in Slovenia? How and why were the world literature repertoires entered into texts, conventions, media, institutions, and practices of the Slovenian literary system? Which models were selected and why? How were they transformed? To what end? How did the actors of the “small” national system perceive the world horizon and their position in it? The research will also include European contexts, global imagination, and the cosmopolitan nature of older Slovenian literature and its cultural institutions, focusing however on the processes implied in the literary system’s attempts to gain aesthetic autonomy. The timeframe encompasses the period of national awakening in the 18th c., with the emergence of intentional production of fiction in Slovenian, through the 19th c., when the concepts of national and world literature started spreading through Europe and Slovenia, up to modernist cosmopolitanism during the interwar period, which saw Slovenian comparative literature studies develop the theoretical and historiographical concept of world literature.
Significance for science
The project has studied the relations between the economic and literary-cultural globalization processes, clarifying the mutual determinations of those discourses and their incommensurability. The project has further developed the recent world system approaches by testing them on new material and taking into account the approaches, such as the history of transfers, the social networks theory, semiotics of cultural spaces, and interliterary intertextuality. This represents a contribution to the transnational comparative literature. The project has established a “glocalized” and decentered concept of world literature, while regarding national literary history transnationally. Using a pluralist perspective on the “planetary,” multilingual, and culturally complex existence of literature, it has analyzed the leverages that, dividing the world system into centers and peripheries, establish asymmetries in the communication and cultural circulation. It has used one of the peripheral literary systems (Slovenian one) to demonstrate that these are not just passively reworking central incentives, but function as protagonists of the world literary system. The periphery, too, produces literary inventions, whose global role is mainly virtual. Only rarely these singularities manage to actually win recognition outside their own linguo-cultural environment. But world peripheries are, through their very position, essential for the existence of the global system and its centers. Shedding light on this fact, the project has contributed to “decolonizing” comparative literary studies (i.e., to addressing western-centrism) and loosening ideological resentment of the “methodological nationalism” of historical narratives (including the Slovenian one). Using Slovenian examples, the project shows that the world literary system has formed in parallel to national systems, and interliterary communities or centrisms. Through this, it supplements modern views on the interactive establishment of (national) cultural identities and the complexity of world literature. The project has grounded new interpretations of Slovenian literary and cultural history by stressing its embeddedness in transnational processes and the world literary system. Supplanting the usual comparative paradigm of influences and international literary currents with systemic views, the project discusses this embeddedness by observing literary and cultural transfers and interliterary interferences at the level of media, institutions, cultural practices, texts, forms, genres, literary actors, and their social networks. Slovenian literature is explained as one of the “small” peripheral literary systems typical of the economic and political semi-periphery of Central and Eastern Europe. As such, it turned out to be an active contributor to the world literary system.
Significance for the country
The project sheds light on the significance of social infrastructure for the development of the Slovenian culture and cultural transfers between Slovenian society and the rest of Europe and the world. Hence the project reevaluates the intermediary role of education, libraries, print media, publishers, etc. The project findings are thus applicable to strategies of the Slovenian cultural policies in a globalized context (e.g., school curricula, university and institute research programs, library collections, and publicly financed publishers’ programs). The research has drawn attention to problems as well as opportunities arising from the intermediate and semi-peripheral position of the Slovenian literary field. Throughout, the project studies the contemporary development of Slovenian literature and social life from the historical perspective and as a result of diverse processes at the level of the world system and European inter-literary communities. During the implementation and dissemination phases, Slovenian researchers have used the most topical developments in the human sciences. The international relevance of the project contributed to a better visibility of the Slovenian humanities abroad.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2010, 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2010, 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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