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What Literature Knows

Forays into Literary Knowledge Production


Edited By Antje Kley and Kai Merten

This volume sheds light on the nexus between knowledge and literature. Arranged historically, contributions address both popular and canonical English and US-American writing from the early modern period to the present. They focus on how historically specific texts engage with epistemological questions in relation to material and social forms as well as representation. The authors discuss literature as a culturally embedded form of knowledge production in its own right, which deploys narrative and poetic means of exploration to establish an independent and sometimes dissident archive. The worlds that imaginary texts project are shown to open up alternative perspectives to be reckoned with in the academic articulation and public discussion of issues in economics and the sciences, identity formation and wellbeing, legal rationale and political decision-making.

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Antje Kley

What Literature Knows: An Introduction

Kai Merten

“His ignorance were wise”: Gendered Knowledge in Love’s Labour’s Lost (1594/95)

Richard Nate

“The pleasing visions I had formed”: Natural Knowledge and Self-Awareness in Jonathan Swift’s Satires

Albert Meier

Access Denied: English Experiences in Karl Philipp Moritz’s Travel Report of 1782

Marcel Hartwig

Fothergill’s Web: Transnational Quaker Networks and the Pennsylvania Medical Library

Anthony John Harding

Wordsworth, The Excursion (1814), and the Crisis of Knowledge

Justus Conrad Gronau

Romanticism and Anoetic Knowledge

Philipp Erchinger

Curious to Know: John Clare’s “The Nightingale’s Nest” (1832)

Maria Kaspirek

Negotiating Authority: Literary and Medical Configurations of Knowledge in 19th-Century America

Cord-Christian Casper

The Fourth Dimension and Impossible Knowledge in Edwardian Speculative Fiction

Aleksandra Boss and Martin Klepper

What Nancy Knew, What Carol Knew: Mass Literature and Knowledge

Matthias Bauer

Scientific Knowledge and the Display Function of Literature: The White Hotel (1981) and Freud’s Megalomania (2000)

Daniel Schäbler

The Art of Deception: Knowledge Distribution in English Literature

Ann Spangenberg

“We are only what we know”: Knowledge in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004)

Jutta Zimmermann

Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach (2000) as Multi-Narrative: The Dialogic Relation of Indigenous and Western World Views

André Schwarck

“Useless, off-beat information!”: Knowledge and Successiveness in Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney (1994)

Anja Pistor-Hatam

Historiography and the Production of Knowledge: The Mongol Period

List of Contributors