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Literature Now

Key Terms and Methods for Literary History

Edited by Sascha Bru, Ben De Bruyn, Michel Delville

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Introduces the most important terms for understanding literature, past and present.

Literature Now argues that modern literary history is currently the main site of theoretical and methodological reflection in literary studies. Via 19 key terms, the book takes stock of recent scholarship and demonstrates how analyses of particular historical phenomena have modified our understanding of crucial notions like archive, book, event, media, objects, style and the senses. The book not only reveals a rich diversity of subjects and approaches but also identifies the most salient traits of literature and literary studies today.

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Introduction (Sascha Bru, Ben de Bruyn, Michel Delville)
I. Channels
Archive (Ed Folsom)
Book (Sydney J. Shep)
Medium (Julian Murphet)
Translation (Thomas O. Beebee)
II. Subjects / Objects
Subjects (Ortwin de Graef)
Senses (Michel Delville)
Animals (Carrie Rohman)
Objects (Timothy Morton)
Politics (David Ayers)
III. Temporalities
Time (Tyrus Miller)
Invention (Jed Rasula)
Event (Scott McCracken)
Generation (Julian Hanna)
Period (Ben de Bruyn)
IV. Aesthetics
Beauty (Sascha Bru)
Mimesis (Thomas Pavel)
Style (Sarah Posman)
Popular (David Glover)
Genre (Jonathan Monroe)

About the Author

Sascha Bru is associate professor of general and comparative literature at the University of Leuven (Belgium). He has produced over a dozen books on European avant-gardes and modernisms, including Democracy, Law and the Modernist Avant-Gardes: Writing in the State of Exception (EUP, 2009) and the co-edited volume The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Europe, 1880-1940 (OUP, 2016).

Ben De Bruyn is an associate professor of comparative literature at Maastricht University. Mainly interested in twentieth and twenty-first century fiction, he has published on three sets of topics, namely theories and histories of reading practices, the representation of space, place and planet and the literary imagination of commodities and various lifestyle practices. He is the author of Wolfgang Iser. A Companion (New York/Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012).

Michel Delville teaches English and American literatures, as well as comparative literature, at the University of Liège. He is the author or co-author of The American Prose Poem, J.G. Ballard, Hamlet & Co, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, and the Secret History of Maximalism, Food, Poetry, and the Aesthetics of Consumption: Eating the Avant-Garde and Crossroads Poetics: Text, Image, Music, Film & Beyond. He has also co-edited several volumes of essays on contemporary poetics.


The ingeniously organised essays in Literature Now provide an up-to-the-moment examination of recent trends in literary theory. The volume covers a comprehensive range of topics, including digital humanities and eco-critical studies, as well as welcome assessments of revisionist developments in such fields as genre studies, book history and narratology. As such, the collection promises to provide a thorough mapping of the central concepts that arise in contemporary discussions of literary history.

- Professor Phillip Sicker, Fordham University

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