In the past year, many people have done their fair share of armchair travel – but this is by no means a recent invention. In this lecture series, we will explore works which, at least at first glance, have little to do with the factual reality of their authors' lives: stories about different times, different people, different places; stories or whole genres where the adage "write what you know" does not quite apply. We will discuss theory as well as a broad variety of literary examples and their effects, from escapism to empathy. The subversive potential of transferring certain dynamics and experiences to different settings will be as important as the occasional necessity of abstraction for communicating subjective experiences.
Over the course of the semester, we will examine what a departure from immediate reality means in different literary periods, genres, modes, and movements, and in what way such stories can sometimes be particularly illuminating about the world outside of fiction. You can find a (preliminary) schedule below.
As always, this will be a joint venture featuring different members of the English Department as well as occasional guests in individual sessions. This means that you will benefit not only from expertise in different subsections of literary history, but also from different voices and points of view every week. Whether we end up sitting in the same physical space of a lecture hall or following each talk online while dreaming of elsewhere, we hope that this lecture series will, as it usually does, contribute to a sense of academic community throughout the department.
(this is a preliminary schedule which is subject to minor changes, particularly regarding the sequence of talks. There might also be one or two later additions.)
production & organisation: Annika Elstermann