Tim Parks 'Literature, Language and Community' Public Lecture

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Conference Auditorium 2

University of Leeds

Willow Terrace Rd, Leeds LS2 9DA, Regno Unito

United Kingdom

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As a joint effort between the Centre for World Literatures, the Italian department and the CompLab research group, the University of Leeds are proud to welcome Professor Tim Parks (IULM University of Milan), who will deliver a public lecture titled Literature, Language and Community (abstract below), the annual public lecture of the University of Leeds Centre for World Literatures. A novelist, essayist, and translator based in Milan, Tim Parks is author of eighteen novels, including Europa, Destiny and In Extremis. He has translated works by Moravia, Calvino, Machiavelli and Leopardi. His critical work includes the essay collection Where I’m Reading From and, most recently, The Novel, A Survival Skill (more information on https://timparks.com/). The event is open to everybody.

Lecture abstract:

The rapid internationalization of fiction in recent decades, with many novels now appearing simultaneously in dozens of countries and a proliferation of international fiction prizes, has met with general approval and enthusiasm; likewise the introduction of World Literature as a discipline and the attendant appearance of anthologies that abandon the national canon in favour of a globally inclusive, cross-cultural mix of texts. However, this ongoing process invites us to consider how far any complex, nuance-rich text might rely for its full appreciation on a given community of ‘competent’ readers, where by competence we mean not only language skills, but an awareness of a shared context which can be of various kinds, social and literary. A certain kind of text implies a certain kind of reader. If the reading community is to be vastly extended, if it is to be assumed that every text is translatable into every language, will this favour the production and promotion of different kinds of texts? Are writers adjusting what they write, publishers what they publish in response to these new conditions? Will a new and different community be formed, and if so of what kind? This paper offers an overview and some specific examples.

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Conference Auditorium 2

University of Leeds

Willow Terrace Rd, Leeds LS2 9DA, Regno Unito

United Kingdom

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