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Institut for Kultur og Læring

Invitation to farewell lecture by Obel Professor Peter Dayan

All employees at Department of Culture and Learning are welcome!


27.09.2019 kl. 14.30 - 16.00


Peter Dayan is professor of Words and Music Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and the leader of the only research centre in that field in the world. Since 2015, he has been employed by Aalborg University as Obel-professor, attached to IRGiC: Interdisciplinary Research Group in Culture, and to CERCOP: Centre for Research in Contemporary Poetry. Peter is a specialist in interartiality studies, poetry, French 19th century literature and Dadaism, and the body of his extensive work testifies to his highly original research within these fields.


"Is there such a thing as literature, as distinct from other uses of language? Before about 1890, no one asked this question, because the answer was so obviously “yes”. Between the 1890s and the 1930s, the question was repeatedly asked, and a clear answer was equally repeatedly given by those writers (from Stéphane Mallarmé to Virginia Woolf) who have continued to give us our sense of what literature might be. But since then, that answer has been lost to view, as we have tried to persuade ourselves we don’t have the right to define the borders of the literary. Ironically, this loss of our sense of literature’s specificity has happened at exactly the same time as the study of literature has proliferated in our universities (whereas it was clear to Woolf that teaching English literature in universities was “vain and vicious”).

In my lecture, I will trace the history of the question and the different ways of answering it, from the 19th century to the present day. I will suggest that the University of Aalborg naturally tends to answer it in a very different way from the University of Edinburgh, because of their different cultural histories. And I will conclude by thanking Aalborg for what I have learned by moving back and forth between the two systems." 


Department of Culture and Learning


Aalborg University, Kroghstræde 3, room 4.112


Institut for Kultur og Globale Studier
Kroghstræde 1
9220 Aalborg Øst

Telefon: 9940 9208
Mail: contact@cgs.aau.dk

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