Audio: “The Philosophy of Literature” (Royal Holloway, London; Feb. & Mar. 2011)

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre (HARC) at Royal Holloway University of London recently hosted a series of events on the topic of “The Philosophy of Literature” (organized by John O’Brien, Royal Holloway). Audiorecordings of the events are now available online at the Backdoor Broadcasting Company. To access the recordings, please click here.

Here is a brief description of the series, followed by a list of the topics and speakers:

The Philosophy of Literature

During the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, the characteristics of the philosophical approach to literature have undergone some important changes. Alongside the continuation of the traditions of Continental thought, representatively symbolized by the work of Badiou and Rancière, can be detected a move back to elements that were challenged 40 years ago by the generation of Barthes, Lacan, Foucault and Derrida. The death of the author is now being countered by the notion of the author as intentional subject; the disconnection between life and art-work is giving way to a new interest in biography; the notion of the self-contained work of art, or of art-as-textuality, is being displaced in favour of a view of literary language as a hard-wired element of human cognition. From Marion’s version of phenomenology to Currie’s Arts and Minds, the philosophy that might underlie literature is being re-appraised.

Session 1 (23 February 2011) : The Intentional Subject


  • Introduction: Professor John O’Brien
  • Professor Andrew Bowie (Philosophy)
  • Professor Dan Rebellato (Drama)

Session 2 (16 March 2011): (T)exteriors


  • Professor Robert Eaglestone (English)
  • Dr Ruth Cruickshank (French)
  • Dr Clare Connors (English, UEA)

Session 3 (23 March 2011): The Intentional Act


  • Professor Colin Davis (French)
  • Dr James Helgeson (French, Nottingham)
  • Dr Tim Chesters (French)

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