Faculty of Social Sciences

Jana Rüegg and Casper Virkkula: "The Challenge of Individually Variable Response"

  • Date: 13 February, 13:15–15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken - Eng6-0031
  • Organiser: The Department of Literature
  • Contact person: Torsten Pettersson
  • Seminarium

The Higher Seminar in Literature, the seminar series “Attending to Fictional Characters”

(NB, new venue)

”Attending to Fictional Characters 2: The Challenge of Individually Variable Response”. Jana Rüegg and Casper Virkkula, doctoral students at the Department of Literature, introduce a discussion of Suzanne Keen’s article ”Readers’ Temperaments and Fictional Characters”, New Literary History, Vol. 42 No. 2 (Spring 2011), 295–314. A free copy of Keen’s article can be accessed at JSTOR by googling its title.

Chair: Pettersson


Attending to Fictional Characters: General Presentation
This is a new English-language series of seminars organized at the Department of Literature. Initiated and chaired by Torsten Pettersson, Professor of Literature, it will illuminate from a variety of vantage points the question of fictional characters which is central to literary studies. Other media such as film and television are also included in the discussions.

Participants from other disciplines, e.g. Aesthetics and literary studies at the Faculty of Languages, are heartily welcome to participate in the series as a whole or in individual seminars. All participants are invited to refer to examples of their own, literary or otherwise.

A small selection of questions to be discussed at the seminars: 1/ Reading fictional characters as real is frequently part and parcel of contextualizing approaches in scholarship, for instance when Kate in Shakespeare’s The Taming of a Shrew is treated as a woman taking issue with male hegemony. But to what extent and under what circumstances can this procedure be used without detriment to the argument in question?  2/ To what extent can descriptions and interpretations of characters lay claim to intersubjective validity, given that this is an area where individual responses tend to vary considerably?  3/ What are the consequences of the distinction that characters in drama, film and television are embodied by go-betweens, i.e. real-life actors, whereas characters in literature, comic strips, painting and sculpture are not. Or is there in the latter some kind of counterpart to such go-betweens?