Institutional Problems Require Institutional Solutions

Eric Hayot

in On Literary Worlds

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199926695
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980499 | DOI:
Institutional Problems Require Institutional Solutions

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This chapter discusses four ways to create new periods, none of which requires abandoning the basic premises of period-based history. While the projects emerging from these new periods are easy enough to imagine, what we need most are examples of how to do them, which requires an openness to experimental forms of scholarship. This book aims to provide one example of what experimentation in literary history would look like. The notion of aesthetic worldedness, as well as the variables that govern it, both developed in Part 1 of the book, are essentially transhistorical or even ahistorical analytic categories designed to draw attention to a feature of the artwork (its “world”) and some ways that we can observe its alterations. The system of modes that appears in Part 2 tracks the system or structure governing the actual shapes of aesthetic worldedness in a single social mode (which overlaps, obviously, with the historical period that bears its name). Among the effects on the literary institution of an imaginary, wholescale adoption of the terms in the first two parts of this book would be the development of some new kinds of scholarship.

Keywords: periods; literary history; aesthetic worldedness; artwork; modes; literary institution; scholarship

Chapter.  3462 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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