1A, lecture room B3109
Kortekallio Kaisa, University of Helsinki, Finland
Living with climate fiction: bodily feelings in scholarly reading
This presentation reconsiders embodied experience from enactivist and new materialist perspectives, asking how literature can participate in the process of opening up to nonhuman materialities. As the core of the presentation, I propose a method for more-than-human reading – a method that does not bracket bodily feelings and material environments from the reading experience but acknowledges them as integral parts of thinking with literature. The method is based on enactivist conceptual work – primarily Evan Thompson’s (2007) formulation of living as sensemaking and Marco Caracciolo’s (2014) model of narrative experientiality – and on the posthuman feminist phenomenology of Astrida Neimanis (2017). In the crossing of these approaches, bodily feelings emerge as central means for navigating the more-than-human aspects of literature and life. In the presentation I ask whether attending to the phenomenology of moods can help us make sense of climate change. The presentation is structured around a singular reading event, in which I read Paolo Bacigalupi’s climate fiction novel The Windup Girl (2009) during the dark days of November 2017 in Helsinki. I suggest that in addition to developing analytical tools that target textual features and conceptual tools that articulate literary phenomena in more or less general levels, the pursuit of literary scholarship would benefit from a sustained development of reading methods that acknowledge the scholar’s bodily engagement with both literature and the material contexts of reading. Describing particular reading events, as they unfold in experience, is a crucial part of such a practice.
Smirnov Dimitri, Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Graz, Austria
The Modalities of Literary Sounds. A Methodological Call for a Literary Sound Studies
Ten years after the proclamation of an ‘acoustic turn’ (Petra Maria Meyer), sounds and aural sensations in literature are still relatively unexplored. While there is an increasing number of studies dedicated to the phonetic attributes of texts, the examination of sounds that do not rely on the (oral) performance of literature or multimedial genres (such as the audiobook) is still lacking. One of the reasons why the study of “silent” sounds in literature has not been advanced to its full potential is that researchers with an interest in the literary representation of aural phenomena and experiences do not share a common terminology and they do not explicitly engage in a unified area of research.
The paper proposes a new methodological approach to the study of sounds in literature that are occasionally termed ‘textualized’ or ‘medialized by (written) words’. Combining research from traditional intermediality studies (e.g. Werner Wolf) with analyses of the modalities of media (Lars Elleström), the paper gives a definition of ‘literary sounds’ as ‘intermodal references’: They are references to sound that are contained within the material and sensorial modalities of written texts, i.e., literary sounds are perceived visually (rather than aurally) on the flat surface of literary texts (rather than through sound waves).
The paper, furthermore, aims at remedying the disjunction between similar investigations of sounds in literature by furthering the idea of a ‘literary sound studies’ suggested by researchers like Sylvia Mieszkowski and Julie Beth Napolin. Such an area of research is still only rarely encountered in academia – by presenting ‘literary sounds’ as a clearly delineated object of investigation, literary sound studies can be provided with a methodological basis that allows to consolidate existing concepts of sounds in literature and, at the same time, distinguish the research interest of literary sound studies from that of other subdisciplines.
Vesala Meeria, University of Tampere, Finland
Failing to Keep it Cool: Hot Meets Cold in James Joyce’s “The Dead”
Published over a century ago as the last story in a collection of fifteen short stories (Dubliners, 1914), James Joyce’s “The Dead” continues to charm and puzzle readers around the globe, not least due to the high symbolism, universality and ambiguity that the story entails. Stephen Greenblatt has written of the collection and Joyce’s writing that: “[t]he language is crisp, lucid and detached, and the details are chosen and organized so meticulously that their symbolic meanings intensify as the events and images intersect…Many end abruptly…leaving multiple possibilities in suspension” (2277). In “The Dead” something that initially seems mundane but, when read closely, proves surprising are the multiple references to things hot and cold – or rather, things that are either hot or cold, rarely cool. This paper discusses how cold(ness) and hot(ness) are created and contrasted in the text and analyzes the images and affects that these polar opposites evoke, what they symbolize, and what sort of attributes are assigned to them.
Although many conceptual metaphors, which Lakoff and Johnson have theorized, can be detected in the narrative, the metaphors of “hot” and “cold” seem anything but straightforward. Zhong and Leonardelli, in Psycological Science, have argued that: “[n]ot only do people consciously describe social interactions using temperature concepts, but they also understand interpersonal situations differently depending on temperature concepts that are activated incidentally (838).” For Joyce’s characters cold is not always a negative or undesired quality, and warm is not always a cozy sensation that feels good. Rather, every glance, discussion and emotion that reflects any degree of temperature or sudden change in it, is firmly contextualized, and the pleasantness of the hot/cold sensation strongly correlates to the mind of the character experiencing it. My paper elaborates on the things and events that Gabriel, the story’s protagonist, experiences as hot or cold and analyzes the circumstances that provoke these bodily reactions in him.
1B, lecture room B3111
Amey Evgenia, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Spatial belonging and fiction-inspired travel: formation of affective attachments to places through reading and literary visits
The proposed presentation is based on the doctoral research which focuses on the notions of belonging in the context of literary travel. Literary travel/tourism is an activity involving visitation of places, which have connections to literature: writers’ houses and burial sites, locations that appeared in or inspired works of fiction are examples of such places. Over recent decades, places like literary theme parks and shooting locations of TV and film adaptions of literary works have also attracted considerable numbers of visitors despite the lack of actual connections to either the authors or literary texts. Thus in some cases the literary travel phenomenon cannot be analysed separately from other forms of media tourism, such as film and TV-induced tourism (also termed “screen tourism”), which is currently a widespread international phenomenon and has been actively studied starting the 2000s.
Readers of literary texts tend to form affective attachments not only to fictional characters, but sometimes also to locations described in literary works. When such emotional connections are experienced by readers, actual physical locations can become “familiar” before (and if ever) the visit occurs. In addition, the feeling of belonging can be experienced also in relation to imaginary places which appear in works of fiction but do
not actually exist (e.g. Middle-earth, Westeros).
In this paper my particular focus is on spatial belonging – the formation and manifestation of personal affective attachments to places through practices of reading and travelling to literary sites. Research data is derived from in-depth interviews with female literary enthusiasts whose reading activities inspire them to travel to places with literary connections. Drawing on the works of Yi-Fu Tuan, Edward Relph and Nira Yuval-Davis, I will examine how attachments to places are formed through reading and how belonging is experienced and manifested during literary visits.
Juopperi Silja, University of Tampere, Finland
Reading books can change life
To some people reading books can change life. From the literature, they can discover something that was missing before. They might find the experience of change when reading gains special significance in the life at the right moment. The change of life can be related to a certain book or a situation that lead in to the literature. Reading fiction can create understanding for something people did not have the words before. Reading might also give comfort in difficult situations in life or it might widen the picture of the world.
In the presentation, I will introduce preliminary results from my analysis of the written recollections of reading experiences archived by the Finnish Literature Society in 2000 and in 2014. I approach the literature from the viewpoint of the Finnish readers. What did these people tell about reading experiences that changed their lives? What did the significance of the change mean to them? My research is based on thematic narrative analysis of the archived written material.
Rrahmani Kujtim, Institute of Albanology in Prishtina, Kosovo
Gilgamesh’ Spaces: Wonder and Grief
Wonder – that makes sense! Grief as well! Timeless Gilgamesh can confirm that.
As a human emotional-intellectual fundamental devices, wonder and grief make sense as embodied nature and nurture employed in imaginary and social sense-making and signification. The modern hiatus and rude frontiers between literary emotions vs. life emotions, could be exemplified by bringing into scene the case of emotions like wonder and grief in literature and everyday life, as an aesthetic and a usual life experience/Erlebnis. The old-and-new emotional events derived from the interplay of these emotions will be discussed with regard to their status as factual and fictional amalgam.
Poetics lays out much beyond the frontiers of the literature per se. Wonder and Grief become cornerstones of poetics.
But, to what extend the wander and grief in Gilmamesh’s endeavour could rebuild the common life-and-fiction space?
This is the major question I am dealing with, by theorising the bipolar emotional spheres in between factual and fictional realities.
This paper aims to inquire and scrutinise the row emotional-intellectual interplay in life with the intentional literary structures; by interrogating, once again, the relationships of Myth and Polis as anthropoetics and beyond.