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Martin Klöker (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre): The Model of Entanglement and Change in Literary History

In her essay “Überlegungen zu einer Literaturgeschichte als Verflechtungsgeschichte”, Annette Werberger recently made clear that models of entangled history (shared / entangled history, histoire croisee) are very well suited for writing a new literary history that satisfies current needs. As awareness of the impossibility of writing a one-dimensional national or linguistic literary history grows in parallel with globalization, the interweaving model is appropriate because it allows the national reference framework to be overcome and the focus instead to be on multipolar transnational relations.

Thus, the model points towards both the comparative approach and models of cultural transfer and cultural exchange, by incorporating and supplementing their results as partial aspects. As Werberger has shown, the effects of various impulses from the cultural sciences (with postcolonial studies), spatial research, and network research (with material culture) are added. The combination of the different aspects is, of course, more than just merely side-by-side additive, as it gains new insights through the multi-perspective demonstration of the relationships of different structures.

The interweaving model appears to be extremely helpful for the literary history of multilingual and multi-ethnic spaces, since it not only transcends national fixations with state, ethnic or linguistic definition, but also reveals the manifold entanglements through structures of relationships, interactions and more. Werberger has sketched the example of Galicia, but a transfer to the Baltics is not difficult.

The processes of change in literary history, from epochal structural change to everyday changes, characterize the shape of the literature as a whole and of the single text, and, as a rule, they appear differently when viewed from a global perspective rather than from a local one. Therefore, the suitability of the interlacing model for the description and analysis of such conversion processes is examined in the lecture. The question is what performance is to be expected and where the limits of an orientation to this model lie.

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