FOLIO (“Forum för Litteraturens Offentligheter”) provides an inter-disciplinary milieu at the Centre for Languages and Literature for researchers and students who share an interest in the public spheres of literature. FOLIO aims to broaden the study of literature(s) by exploring how writers and categories of readers employ literature for a variety of purposes – some explicit, some only vaguely defined – in a wide range of public settings. To give but one example: rather than attempt novel reinterpretations of a classic like War and Peace, we attempt to explore how the powers that be attempted, in the Soviet era, to use Russia’s classic literature to create a common Soviet identity in a multi-national society by way of everything from the official celebration of writers’ birthdays to generously funded adaptations of their major works to the silver screen and television.  FOLIO will explore how literary texts become the subject of debate, negation or dialogue centred on contemporary values and opinions of popular concern (in particular during the last two centuries). In other words, we look upon the public conversation – the debate – about literature, as a crucial part of literature itself. Taking the actual settings in which literature becomes subject to public uses or exchanges of opinion as our point of departure, FOLIO seeks to explore what it is that gives literary texts their particular power. This does not mean that we relegate the text as such to a secondary position or dispense with studying it altogether. On the contrary, by adopting this very perspective we shall become forced to explore the rhetorical qualities of the text that allows its meaning(s) and significance to be contested in different public spheres. FOLIO draws creatively on the possibilities for comparative studies and approaches offered by the Centre for Languages and Literature. Its community of researchers brings together scholarship that covers a wide range of cultures and linguistic regions. The FOLIO project is supported by a three-year development grant from the Faculties of Humanities and Theology at Lund University.
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