Research in literature consists of the study of the history of literature as well as literary theory and method. Within the subject, literary works, their origin, distribution and reception are studied, as well as the assesment and interpretation of literature. Research consists of both literary works and the ideas, traditions and societal factors that contributed to the work’s creation and reception.
The department’s continual research in literary studies is characterized by a wide field. Perspectives from gender studies and literary sociology are prominent, as well as the historical study of 1700- and 1800s literary culture, but also empirical reading research, digital humanities, text analysis, media history and eco-critique are important fields for our research. Within the framework of the department's research groups, literary scholars and rhetoricians collaborate, and the Department of the Sociology of Literature is a hub for the department's literary sociology researchers. Research is presented and discussed at research seminars (see the calendar), and two thematic seminar series, the interdisciplinary 18th-century seminar and the Travel Literature Seminar (RELS). The Swedish Litteratursällskapet, which publishes Samlaren, has its seat at the institution. Read more about current publications, the latest dissertations on the subject and the department's literature series.
The subject's history goes back a long way. In 1917, the first absolute professorship in literary history was established, but even earlier it was possible to write a dissertation on literary historical subjects within the framework of the subject of aesthetics. Since the study of literature at the beginning of the 20th century was expanded from a previously positivist activity to include, for example, comparative methods, it has undergone a considerable expansion during the 20th century, not least since the subject changed from Literary History with poetics to Literature in the late 1960s.
The Literature Department has historically been strongly linked to Swedish teacher education (together with Nordic languages), which in turn has meant a clear focus on Swedish and Nordic literature, which is not, however, universal. The field of literary studies has recently grown at the same time as many theoretical and methodological perspectives have been established. The expansion towards new fields and theoretical perspectives has also meant an approach to other disciplines, while the continued orientation towards literary texts and literary historical context has been a unifying factor.