Call for Papers in English

Kirjallisuudentutkimuksen päivät 2021: AISTIT
5.-7.5. 2021 Helsinki/Zoom

Litteraturforskningsdagarna 2021: SINNEN

5-7.5.2021 Helsingfors/Zoom

The Annual Conference of the Finnish Literary Research Society 2021: SENSES

5.–7.5.2021 Helsinki/Zoom

Literary expression relies strongly on senses and sensory effects. Sensory impressions emanate for example from visual effects, such as the snowflakes on Kitty Shcherbatskaya’s fur muff or the clammy angelic curls on the temples of Tadzio. Visuality is present also in tropes, visual poetry, object poetry (Dinggedicht), illustrations and cover art. The rhythm, sounds and onomatopoetics of a text exemplify the auditive qualities of literature. Senses of smell and taste are often used in synesthesia, but they are also an integral element in the numerous descriptions of meals and eating in literature.

In recent years literary studies has increasingly focused on how literature is able to represent missing, over-developed or restricted senses, supernatural senses or the senses and sensations of non-humans.

Reading is, itself, also a sensory experience. It is governed by the weight of a book, roughness of its pages, and the smell of printed paper, the interplay between text and illustration, the concrete places of reading and the attitudes people have towards literary reading as an activity. Reading a book can also evoke strong personal memories or impressions of taste and smell. The importance of touch has been emphasised especially in relation to child readers as well as in relation to the materiality of the book and the embodied experience of reading.

Sensory experiences of reading are currently changing; the paper book has been complemented by e-books and audio books. At the same time, an increasing number of illustrated books are being published for adult readers, and functional touch or lift-the-flap books have become favourites among children. Digitalisation changes the sensory aspects of reading in many ways.

The Annual Conference of the Finnish Literary Research Society in 2021 focuses on senses in literature. The theme allows for interdisciplinary approaches to literary cultures, and we thus invite proposals that draw on e.g. cultural studies, philology, educational sciences, disability studies, animal studies to enrich our notions of the role and representations of senses in literature. Philosophical and methodological approaches as well as abstracts from other disciplines are also welcome. The conference also welcomes presentations of research projects.