DepositLiterary Theory: Introduction and Greek Origins

This paper defines the concepts of literary theory and literary criticism as dialectically related activities, and puts forward a semiotic classification of literary theories. To conclude a preliminary approach to literary theory, it sketches out the origins of literary theorizing and critical practice in pre-philosophical thought and in the Greek writers and philosophers before Plato and Aristotle’s foundational works.

DepositMedieval Literary Theory: From Exegetics to Poetics.

Early medieval literate culture, dominated by Christian monks and clerics, was focused on interpreting biblical texts and correlating them with a theological system devised in patristic times and late antiquity. Central to biblical exegesis was the fourfold method that distinguished the literal (or historical) sense of Old Testament narratives from the three spiritual senses revealed in the New Testament documents. These spiritual senses were the allegorical (or typological), the moral (or tropological), and the anagogical (or eschatological) senses. Inspired by the re-emergence of Aristotelian philosophy via Arabic translations subsequently retranslated into Latin, the newly founded universities began to question the Platonism that had long shored up the Christian world-view. Soon the Aristotelian four causes (material, formal, efficient, and final) were providing a useful conceptual framework to explain natural phenomena, social institutions, and human artifacts. In this paper, I discuss the reasons why attempts to align fourfold exegetical method with fourfold causal analysis failed when applied to biblical texts, but, when applied to the writing and reading a secular texts, succeeded in establishing the theoretical basis for a distinctively Western poetics.

TopicERC postdoc positions in Persian and Arabic literary theory

I am writing here to announce two postdoc positions in Persian and Arabic literary theory respectively for my European Research Council-funded project in Global Literary theory (described in more detail at the website here: <span class=”s1″></span>). Here is a link to the two positions: and a FAQ for interested applicants: Applicants with an interest in […]