Friday, June 8, 2023, 2pm: Günter Leypoldt (Heidelberg): “Literary Networks and the Laureate Position in the Long Nineteenth Century”, Université Paris Cité, Olympe de Gouges building, room 830 / Zoom

“Literary Networks and the Laureate Position in the Long Nineteenth Century”


This lecture looks at literary prestige from the perspective of a new theory of value. It argues that today’s system of literary prizes has evolved from an older socio-institutional formation that I will call the “laureate position” in cultural space. The first part will explore how the laureate position turns literary artifacts into strong-valued “higher goods” (as opposed to, say, quotidian entertainment practices) that dominate the making of “literary heritage.” Relevant issues will be how laureate-oriented authorship connects to regimes of “vocation,” “singularity” and peer-review. The second part will look at how the making of literary prestige crystallizes long-standing tensions between the laureate position’s professional curators and the problem brokers of the civil sphere (the former concerned with defining literature as a higher good, the latter with civil-sacred notions of good democratic behavior or “moral decency”). Examples will be drawn from nineteenth-century debates on the status of the novel and what can count as capital-L-literature.


Günter Leypoldt is a Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and speaker of the Research Training Group “Authority and Trust in the US” at Heidelberg Center for American Studies. His present research interests include transatlantic Anglophone literature from 1800 to the present, cultural theory, book history, and the sociology of aesthetic experience and knowledge production. He is the author of Cultural Authority in the Age of Whitman: A Transatlantic Perspective (2009), editor of Intellectual Authority and Literary Culture in the US, 1790-1900 (2013), and co-editor of American Cultural Icons (2010), Reading Practices (2015), and Authority and Trust in US Culture and Society (2021). His essays appeared in such journals as American Literary History, Modern Language Quarterly, New Literary History, American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Critical Quarterly, Contemporary Literature, and Post45.



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Thomas Constantinesco (2023, 1 juin). Friday, June 8, 2023, 2pm: Günter Leypoldt (Heidelberg): “Literary Networks and the Laureate Position in the Long Nineteenth Century”, Université Paris Cité, Olympe de Gouges building, room 830 / Zoom. A19. Consulté le 21 juin 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/agxe

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A propos Thomas Constantinesco

A former student of the École normale supérieure, I hold an agrégation in English. I was appointed as Associate Professor at Université Paris Diderot in 2010 where I teach American Literature and Literary Translation. Before joining Paris Diderot, I also taught at Yale University and Keble College and Magdalen College, Oxford. Between 2014 and 2019, I was a junior research fellow at the Institut universitaire de France. From 2019 to 2021, I will be a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in the English Faculty at the University of Oxford.

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