Literary Studies (Huygens ING)

Literature is an important enriching element in any society. Literature as an art form embodies the power of imagination, new ideas and understanding of others. Literature is also the art in which a society searches for new forms, debates, clashes and develops itself.

The study of literature and its history is therefore also the study of the creative and intellectual development of society and thus crucially important to that society. Literature can delight in a large group of enthusiasts and interested parties from outside (and inside) the world of science.

Research programme

The literary studies department at Huygens ING is explicit in its desire to render services to the academic sector as well as to the wider public. The work of the department – both in terms of publishing resources and research in the more narrow sense – fits in well with several of the institute’s key areas.

Literature is the medium in which ideas and styles transcend national and language borders, and literature is furthermore indispensable for the key area Impact of circulation. As one of the vehicles of social discourse, literature is also crucially important to the key area Debating culture. Due to the richness of formats, layers and the complex creation of literary texts, the key area Innovation in editing is also very important for the department.

Research question

Which factors determine the function of ‘Dutch’ literature in national and international context and how does this function change?

This line of research focuses on the Netherlands literature in social, historical and international context. The object of research are both highbrow and lowbrow literature, as well as types of text from the past that are not currently considered literature but that have traditionally also been studied by literary historians (such as ‘artes’ texts).

Using new methods and techniques from digital humanities, we investigate the role of literature in contemporary society and in the past. Not only the texts themselves, but also the readers, critics, online reading communities, publishers and literary and academic literature critics are the objects of research. Globalisation and research of translations and adaptations also play a part.

More information in the Huygens ING Institute programme for 2018-2023


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Partner IISG Partner Meertens Instituut Partner Huygens ING