The way English is structured as a discipline encourages academics to focus their research on a particular period. Although interdisciplinary approaches are welcomed, research encompassing Chaucer and Shakespeare and Tennyson may be viewed with suspicion. For some critics, "transhistoricist" is a term to use when wishing to discredit scholarly work.
A transhistorical study is less likely to exhibit the same complete expertise in all literary periods as a specialist, historicist apparoach, but at the same time, the historicist critic may overlook the influence of a much earlier text. This oversight may prevent that critic from grasping a work's full siginificance. Similarly, a too narrow focus on a text's immediate social and cultural context may prevent the critic from noticing other patterns of influence.
This colloquium, jointly organised by Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK and Umeň University, Sweden, is a first step towards a reappraisal of the advantages and disadvantages of a transhistoricist approach.
Keynote speaker is Professor Helen Cooper,Magdalene College, Cambridge.
There will be papers presented, but attendees are also invited to take part in a workshop, where the uses of transhistoricism will be discussed. A brief text will be used as a starting point, and this is available on request.
For schedule and more information, please visit our website.
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