14th International Conference of the Estonian Association of Comparative Literature
The Factor of Lyrical Poetry in the Formation of Literary Cultures
University of Tartu, Estonia
November 1 to 3, 2021
Until recently histories of literature have emphasised the seminal role of epic poetry in the development of literary cultures. The genre originated in traditional oral epic, which has long been considered an important factor in cultural consolidation and identity-building. The concepts of “epic” and “nation” have been perceived as interconnected and the extension of this connection to the genre of novel has been reaffirmed by contemporary theoreticians of culture.
In other literary cultures, however, this connection has not emerged from their original epic tradition and has been, in some instances, conceptualized as late as the 19th century. Such has been the case for many literary cultures developed under some major, dominant (often colonial) influence. As poetic models, theoretical concepts and literary practices were adopted from the dominant model culture(s), epics were also invented or (re)constructed relying on lyrical-epic folksong, in case traditional epic sources were scarce or absent. These epic works often acquired the intended cultural function and prestige without reducing the importance of other poetic practices, but have overshadowed them as an object of study.
Thus, relatively little attention has been paid to lyrical poetry, despite the fact of its noticeable presence in the formation of small literatures and the awakening of cultural and national self-awareness. Focusing not as much on the narrative plot as on descriptions, situations and feelings, lyrical poetry and song has had its role in shaping the national identity and consolidating the nation to an even greater degree than the epic genre. This claim can be confirmed with arguments provided by the long tradition of lyrical folksong in Balto-Finnic cultures, as well as in many other literary cultures in the entire world.
The conference calls for exploring the self-representations of various literary cultures and their interaction in that field of tension. At the same time, theoretical questions about the nature of lyrical poetry, its main elements, formal constitution, emotional influence and social function in the globalizing world call for further discussion.
Papers are invited to address the following issues:
- What defines the lyric in terms of forms, themes, modes of expression, cognitive, communicative and social functions?
- What role have lyric production and practices played in a given literary culture at different periods of time? What critical and historiographic attention has been given to that role?
- How have lyrical authors and works of literature participated in the cultural consolidation and identity-building?
- How is lyrical expression involved in social interactions, traditions and rituals; how is it represented in the material and media environment?
- How does lyric relate to other forms and modes of expression (storytelling, music, visual arts etc.)?
- How is lyric poetry translated and received, how does it function in a multilingual community and/or under intercultural and interlinguistic influences?
- What is the position of dialect poetry in the increasingly globalizing world?
The deadline for submitting the abstract is June 30, 2021. Acceptance notices will be sent by July 31, 2021.
The main working language is English, poster presentations are welcome also in Spanish, French or German.
The conference participation is free of charge. Participants cover their own costs of travel, accommodation and catering. If necessary, conference organizers advise and assist in finding suitable arrangements.
Abstract submission form can be found here. Conference registration form will open in August 2021.
If the epidemic situation permits, the conference will take place on site in Tartu, if not, the conference will proceed either partially or fully using an online platform.
Liina Lukas, Jüri Talvet, Katre Talviste, Katiliina Gielen, Rebekka Lotman, Kersti Unt, Arne Merilai, Lauri Pilter, Jaak Tomberg, Saara Lotta Linno, Joosep Susi.