BU Colloquium on Literature, Philosophy, & Aesthetics

The BU Colloquium on Literature, Philosophy, and Aesthetics is an annual meeting of literary scholars and philosophers whose work reflects upon the problems and themes shared across their different disciplines. How have art, criticism, and philosophy both adjoined and rebuked one another? What is the status of the ancient quarrel today?

The 2019 colloquium will be devoted to the topic of Wittgenstein and Literature. Perhaps more than with any other major thinker, Wittgenstein’s work has helped over the last decade or two to create a very particular community of scholarship and site of rapprochement between philosophers and literary scholars. When speaking in a Wittgensteinian register, the philosopher and literary theorist often seem suddenly intelligible to one another, yet without sacrificing what is distinctive about their very different disciplinary perspectives, interests, and anxieties.

Among the topics to be addressed are: Wittgenstein as reader and literary commentator; literary writing “after” Wittgenstein; Wittgenstein’s remarkable range of styles, genres, and voices; lyric poetry and narrative; debates over “meaning,” “intention,” “context,” “interiority,” and other major concepts in both literary studies and philosophy.