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Svend Erik Larsen

Professor Emeritus

Svend Erik Larsen

Research interests:

In my early career I have worked in particular with language philosophy and semiotics. Hence, many of my publications focus on the study of sign systems by which we shape and express culture and consciousness. This topic has been presented in Fortælleteori (1975) and Sémiologie littéraire (1984), an extended translation of my book Litterær semiologi (1975). The most comprehensive result in this field is my dissertation Sprogets geometri 1-2 (1986) on the theory of the Danish linguist Viggo Brøndal. An English translation of Tegn i brug (1994) is published with Routledge in 2002 under the title Signs in Use, in Croatian as Uvod u Semiotiku in 2000 and in Chinese as Yingyong Fuhaoxue in 2018. A second research domain is literature and culture in the modern city. Over the last 200 years the metropolis has embraced more and more aspects of the arts and of the everyday experience for a growing number of people, including those who live far beyond the last stop of the bus. Literature gives shape to the imaginations we as humans create in urban conditions and thereby integrates the open and flexible urban reality and its global effects in an aesthetic and communicative context that allows us to grasp it, both in a historical and a contemporary perspective. In this field I have written on Honoré de Balzac among others, in I byen med Balzac, published by Odense University Press in 2002. A third field of interest is the role of literature in the forging of the fundamental ideas by which we, in different ways throughout history, interpret our individual and collective lives, for example nature, solitude, memory, personal formation or Bildung. On these topics I have published in Danish the books Naturen er ligeglad with Rosinante in 1996 and Mutters alene with Gads Forlag in 2002. The idea of personal formation has been instrumental for my engagement in the reform of the Danish high school system. My latest and fourth research field is globalization and literature under the headline World Literature. A textbook on literary historiography, composed together with Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, appeared with Aarhus University Press in 2005. In 2007 I published Tekster uden grænser. Litteratur og globalisering with Aarhus University Press which has appeared in English in 2017 and in Chinese as Wu bianjie wenben: wenxue yu quanqiuhua in 2020. A co-authored literary history for high schools, litteraturDK, viewing literature in Denmark in a globalized perspective, appeared with Lindhardt & Ringhof in 2009. Co-PI, author and editor in the Leverhulme project 'Landscapes of Realism' (2016-2020). The project is part of International Comparative Literature Association's serie Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages; volume I appeared in 2021 and volume II in 2022 with John Banjamins. Current book project, also within the field of globalized culture and world literature, is a book in English on literature and forgiveness as a cultural challenge.   - The link Further Information shows an extended cv and my complete bibliography.

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