Sociology of literature


Sociology of literature

Subfield of Sociology of culture that studies the social production of literature and its social implications. In 1992 Pierre Bourdieu published "Les Règles de L'Art: Genèse et Structure du Champ Littéraire", translated by Susan Emanuel as "Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field" (Stanford University Press, 1996). This book is a masterpiece in Sociology of Literature and reflects the work of many scholars before him.

The theory of the novel

A first step into Sociology of Literature was done by Georg Lukács with his "The Theory of the Novel", first published in German in 1916, in the "Zeitschrift fur Aesthetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft". In 1920 it was republished as a book and strongly influenced the Frankfurt School. Walter Benjamin and Leo Lowenthal were the main scholars continuing the literary studies then. Leo Lowentahl continued his work on literature later in the 50's at Berkeley University, California. The novel is seen by Critical Theorists as a mirror of the ideology of bourgeoisie. A second edition of "The Theory of the Novel" would be published in 1962 having, a strong influence on french structuralism.

The sociology of the novel

In 1964 Lucien Goldmann, that developed the theory of genetic structuralism, published "Pour une Sociologie du Roman" translated by Alan Sheridan as "Towards a Sociology of the Novel" (New York: Tavistock Publications, 1987). Instead of a direct reflex of capitalist society, Goldmann sees the Novel as an homology between literature and society mediated by the writer. In his view, the novel represents the "maximum possible counscience" of a social class or group.


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