Professor Victoria Kahn från Berkeleyuniversitetet gästar Institutionen för kultur och estetik i vår
Victoria Kahn.

Professor Kahn holds the Katherine Bixby Hotchkis chair in English at the University of California, Berkeley. She specializes in Early Modern literature, and has published widely on Machiavelli and Hobbes, combining her longstanding interest in history and political theory with literature. Her books include The Future of Illusion: Political Theology and Early Modern Texts, 2014, Wayward Contracts: The Crisis of Political Obligation in England, 1640-1674, 2004, Machiavellian Rhetoric from the Counter-Reformation to Milton, 1994, and Rhetoric, Prudence, and Skepticism, 1985. She has also edited several anthologies, the latest being Politics and the Passions, 1500–1850, 2006, with Neil Saccamano.

Welcome to our library

Professor Kahn will be presenting two lectures (in English), focusing on the idea of literature in the Early Modern period, with reference to modern theory. Both lectures will be given in Biblioteket (The Library) on the first floor of the Manne Siegbahn House, Frescativägen 24E. Information: Professor Ulf Olsson,

May 14th, 3–5pm

"The Trouble with Literature"

The first lecture explores the meaning of literariness from Plato to Jakobson and beyond. It argues that modern understandings of literature as "making strange" represent a decline from a more robust understanding of the dialectic between making and believing that we find in the literature of the Renaissance and English Reformation. It concludes by suggesting that any form of writing that rejects the authority of philosophy and, later, theology, for the autonomy of human making acquires the attributes of literature or in our modern parlance literariness. Literariness is one form the questioning of the authority of philosophy or theology, and their corresponding notions of belief, takes in the Western tradition.

May 16th, 3–5 pm"Literariness in Kant, Kierkegaard, and Coetzee"

The second lecture looks at the history of literariness after Kant. It provides a genealogy of the modern definition of literariness as "making strange" by focusing on the shift from Kant's defense of disinterestedness in The Critique of Judgment, to Kierkegaard's notion of the interesting in Either/Or and Fear and Trembling, to Coetzee's ironic reprise of Renaissance notions of making in his novel, Elizabeth Costello.