Relevant or not? Literature, literary research and literary researchers in troubled times

Sage Publications Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Diogenes, 2003, 198 (1), pp. 25 - 32
Issue Date:
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This article notes the significance of the contribution that literary researchers - who must see themselves as `researchers-as-artists' - make in the area of policy and politics. The `researcher-as-artist' chooses words aesthetically to tell stories that construct new stages for debate and discussion, and that inspire governments and policy-makers, They push intellectual boundaries; they challenge; they stimulate and confer visibility on creative ideas; they provoke - artistically, educationally and morally; and make connections. They encourage new ways of looking and seeing. Thus, for example, they can contribute to discussions of soap operas and connect them to folk-tales - tales of the folk, endlessly repeated variations on common themes. Using a literary optic in this way demonstrates not only the evolutionary powers of literature, but the vital role of literary researchers and of the stories they tell.
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