Literary Theory & Beyond

At Romance Studies we move beyond the study of the novel proper to encompass the broader category of narrative and its theoretical re-energizing brought about by the development of film studies, popular culture, Latin American “testimonio,” and the digital humanities. (A major initiative in Francophone Digital Humanities is orchestrating links between research groups in Europe and the French-speaking Americas while it innovates the range of digital surrogates available). We are thus constantly rethinking the relationship between socio-historical formations and literary representation; between the singularity of “events” and the crisis of grand récits; and between the differential identities found in local enclaves and the pressure that historically has been put on writers to produce “national allegories.”  The Department is in a unique position to offer a wide range of courses in the theory and history of fiction that may include these and other topics: the political novel of revolution in relation to contemporary revolutions in narrative poetics; the changing role of “national allegories” or novels used as nation-building instruments; travel writing as an ancillary mode of fiction vis-à-vis the novelistic inflection of travel accounts; the interface of popular culture and high-brow art; biography, life-writing and autofiction; and the fascination that analytico-referential discourse (“science”) has exerted on fiction writers from the nineteenth century through postmodernism and beyond.