Literary research is conducted in the department of literature as well as the language departments. One of its more prominent areas is literary theory, which is commonly divided into narrative theory and the theory of fiction. Narrative theory looks at the techniques of storytelling and the structure of stories. The theory of fiction asks, for example, what distinguishes fiction from history and what fiction means and has meant in older times as well as in contemporary society.

Another prominent field of research is children’s literature and literature for young adults. SU has the only chair in Sweden within that field. Currently, in collaboration with the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books, SU scholars are involved in writing a pioneering history of children’s literature in Sweden from the 14th century onwards. Literature and reading practices will be analysed here in terms of – among other things – aesthetics, social impact and gender.

Besides this, literary research at SU engages with translation, media and intermediality, postcolonial literature, world literature, early modern and premodern literature, and editorial philology. It is important also to note the exceptionally wide linguistic range of this research: it covers not only all major (and some minor) European languages, both classical and modern, but also Arabic and East Asian languages. The boundaries between these areas are not always sharply drawn, however. A current project – a world history of literature in four volumes edited by an SU researcher and due to be published by Blackwell – comprises many of the headings mentioned above. Researchers within media studies deal with both older and more contemporary literarature and its relation to other art forms and media technologies. Questions pertaining to translation cut across virtually all of these discrete literatures.

SU’s literary research has a high national and international profile. SU researchers participate in broad scholarly networks and publish regularly in monograph form, in anthologies and in peer-reviewed journals, as can be seen in the database DiVA. Many SU scholars also contribute on a regular basis as critics in the daily press and are frequently asked to give public lectures.