Literature on Trial: The Emergence of Critical Discourse in Germany, Poland & Russia, 1700-1800

BY S.D. Chrostowska

© 2012

Literature on Trial traces the rise of modern literary criticism in Central and Eastern Europe during the eighteenth century. S.D. Chrostowska juxtaposes the discourse's written forms in three linguistic-cultural regions — Germany, Poland, and Russia — to show how fluid the relationship once was between the genres of criticism and those of literature.

An alternative history of literary criticism, Literature on Trial marks a shift from earlier studies' focus on aesthetic principles to an emphasis on the development of literary-critical forms. Chrostowska relates cultural and institutional changes in these areas to the formation of literary-critical knowledge. She accounts for the ways in which critical discourse organized itself formally and deemed some genres ‘proper’ while eliminating others. Analysing works by Lessing, Goethe, and Karamzin, among others, Literature on Trial brings a fresh theoretical perspective to the links between genre as a discursive strategy and socio-political life.

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  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.4in
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  • PUBLISHED JUL 2012

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Quick Overview

Analysing works by Lessing, Goethe, and Karamzin, among others, Literature on Trial brings a fresh theoretical perspective to the links between genre as a discursive strategy and socio-political life.

Literature on Trial: The Emergence of Critical Discourse in Germany, Poland & Russia, 1700-1800

BY S.D. Chrostowska

© 2012

Literature on Trial traces the rise of modern literary criticism in Central and Eastern Europe during the eighteenth century. S.D. Chrostowska juxtaposes the discourse's written forms in three linguistic-cultural regions — Germany, Poland, and Russia — to show how fluid the relationship once was between the genres of criticism and those of literature.

An alternative history of literary criticism, Literature on Trial marks a shift from earlier studies' focus on aesthetic principles to an emphasis on the development of literary-critical forms. Chrostowska relates cultural and institutional changes in these areas to the formation of literary-critical knowledge. She accounts for the ways in which critical discourse organized itself formally and deemed some genres ‘proper’ while eliminating others. Analysing works by Lessing, Goethe, and Karamzin, among others, Literature on Trial brings a fresh theoretical perspective to the links between genre as a discursive strategy and socio-political life.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.4in
  • Reviews

    ‘A brilliant and long awaited contribution to comparative literature in the spirit of the best achievements of René Wellek. Chrostowska diligently combines a detailed historical approach to German, Russian, and Polish literatures with a clear theoretical take on criticism as a genre. Her book makes us more aware of the transnational origins of Modernity and the genealogy of modern metaliterary discourses. It is comparative criticism at its best.’
    Michal Pawel Markowski, Hejna Family Chair in Polish Language and Literature, University of Illinois at Chicago

    ‘This multifaceted study accomplishes several things at once: it is, at its basis, the first account of how the new genre of literary criticism travels eastward from England and France into Germany, Poland and Russia. It also makes telling use of genre theory to describe the discursive spaces created for criticism within the literary systems of these respective cultures. Above all, however, the author skillfully retells the stories that the criticism of this period of the “short” 18th century – a period seldom remembered for its brilliance – were designed to tell about literature. And Chrostowska shapes this all into her own compelling story of these 100 years of criticism.’
    Thomas O. Beebee, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and German, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Author Information

    S.D. Chrostowska is an assistant professor of European Studies in the Department of Humanities at York University.

  • Table of contents

    INTRODUCTION

    1. Genre, Discourse, History
    2. Criticism and the Genus Universum
    3. Criteria in Focus: Forms and Transformations
    4. Looking Ahead

    PART I. GERMAN CRITICISM

    1. Coming-of-Age
    2. Overcoming Dogma: Periodicals and Review Criticism
    3. Toward a Critical ‘Play Drive’: Generic Vicissitudes
    4. Textual Analyses
      1. J. Ch. Gottsched
      2. J. G. Hamann
      3. G. E. Lessing
      4. J. G. von Herder
      5. G. A. Bürger
      6. J. W. von Goethe
      7. F. Schlegel

    PART II. CRITICISM IN POLAND

    1. A Discursive Inheritance
    2. Profiling Polish Criticism
    3. Textual Analyses
      1. J. A. Jablonowski
      2. A. K. Czartoryski
      3. J. Szymanowski
      4. F. N. Golanski
      5. F. K. Dmochowski
      6. Excursus

    PART III. CRITICISM IN RUSSIA

    1. The Emperor’s Tongue: Russian Literary Language
    2. Criticism’s “Generic Unconscious”
    3. Parody and Polemics
    4. Textual Analyses
      1. M. V. Lomonosov
      2. A. P. Sumarokov
      3. V. K. Trediakovskii
      4. N. M. Karamzin

    CONCLUSION

    Generic Migrants

    Time Travelers

    Looking Back

    NOTES

    WORKS CITED

    INDEX

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