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Literary Criticism General

Literature on Trial

The Emergence of Critical Discourse in Germany, Poland & Russia, 1700-1800

by (author) S.D. Chrostowska

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Jul 2012
General, German
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    Publish Date
    Jul 2012
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    Jul 2012
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Literature on Trial traces the rise of modern literary criticism in Central and Eastern Europe during the eighteenth century. S.D. Chrostowska juxtaposes the discourse's written forms in three linguistic-cultural regions — Germany, Poland, and Russia — to show how fluid the relationship once was between the genres of criticism and those of literature.

An alternative history of literary criticism, Literature on Trial marks a shift from earlier studies' focus on aesthetic principles to an emphasis on the development of literary-critical forms. Chrostowska relates cultural and institutional changes in these areas to the formation of literary-critical knowledge. She accounts for the ways in which critical discourse organized itself formally and deemed some genres ‘proper’ while eliminating others. Analysing works by Lessing, Goethe, and Karamzin, among others, Literature on Trial brings a fresh theoretical perspective to the links between genre as a discursive strategy and socio-political life.

About the author

S. D. Chrostowska is Professor of Humanities and Social & Political Thought at York University, Toronto. She is the author of Literature on Trial: The Emergence of Critical Discourse in Germany, Poland, and Russia, 1700-1800 (2012); Permission: A Novel (2013); and Matches: A Light Book (2015, 2nd enlarged ed. 2019), and co-editor of Political Uses of Utopia: New Marxist, Anarchist, and Radical Democratic Perspectives (2017). She currently lives in Toronto. 

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Other titles by S.D. Chrostowska