About the Project
The project seeks to explore all kinds of sources, in particular literary writing, that can cast further light on what Franco Moretti described as the "faultline running between story and discourse, world and worldview" in narrative texts of 'peripheral' literature: "the world goes in the strange direction dictated by an outside power [sc., the colonizer, norms perceived as dominant]; the worldview tries to make sense of it, and is thrown off balance all the time” (Conjectures on World Literature, 2000).
A basic assumption is that the most essential feature of the ‘pragmatic’ genres (fiction, drama) that began to challenge the traditional ones, was the twin pack of "‘worldliness’ (factualism) cast into fictional plots", combining the objectivity of the world with a subjective approach to it. The new genres established themselves, gradually, as sites of discovering, experiencing, testing out, and asserting the writer's identity and agency as a rational, intellectual, thinking, analyzing subject; as a feeling subject on whose body and soul the interaction with the world showed (emotionalism); as a subject whom these emotions ennobled and made into a cultured citizen, a member of the global community of a modern, civilised humanity; and a as creative subject who had the freedom and capacity to re-create the world according to his/her own view and will.
Methodology and objectives
Methodology consists, for the main part, in a close study of what the "emplotment of the world" (fictionalisation of reality) actually meant for the writing subjects in terms of the essential choices they had to make – topics, characters, spaces/settings, structure, language –, given, on the one hand, an inherited set of ‘high’ and ‘popular’ genres and the prevalent literary taste, and, on the other, their wish to assert their subjectivity.
A focus will be on hitherto little studied fiction from the "long 19th century" in the Middle East.
The project is meant to shed fresh light on the transition from premodern to modern attitudes and worldviews with a focus on the psychological processes involved in this process.