English Literature at Bayreuth covers literature in English produced in Britain and Ireland from the late Middle Ages to the present day.
Like other aesthetic practices, literature is closely enmeshed with the cultures from which it emerges, articulating them as much as transforming them in the process. However, it is governed by distinct traditions and conventions regulating its exchanges with other domains of cultural production. These forms of literary expression include such diverse dimensions as rhetoric and prosody, genre and mode, symbolism and metaphor, as well as changing kinds of dramatic, narrative and other verbal (re-)presentation. We study the historical developments of these and related formal features of literature to better understand and describe the changing ways in which it has reflected and negotiated the actual and possible worlds.
Among our particular interests is the literary response to and transformation of epistemologies from the natural sciences, the narratives and imperatives of the law, and the formation of collective identities, especially English national identity, European identities, and various diasporic identities. Attending to the contingent circumstances under which literature enters into a dialogue with other forms of knowledge and meaning-making, textual and otherwise, we chart its changing functions from an interdisciplinary perspective that retains a firm footing in the concepts, methodology, and theory of Eng. Lit.