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Discover HASS (Issue 4 - Aug 2013)

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Research Highlights

Discover HASS talks to Associate Professor Neil Murphy who just received a Tier 1 Grant to work on an interdisciplinary research project that crosses the traditional literature and art boundaries:

An Aesthetic Analysis of the Contemporary Novelist John Banville (Literary Studies & Aesthetics) 

This project entails the production of a full research literary monograph, three conference papers and at least one journal article, all of which will be situated in the literary studies, aesthetic theory and the arts, and will investigate how the principles that are used to discern artistic value in literary studies can form a sustained theoretical model that will be applied to the work of the Booker-prize (2005) winning contemporary novelist, John Banville.  This theoretical model, situated in the intersection between art, literature, and aesthetics, is interdisciplinary in focus, while the primary subject matter is literary.  Neil argues, with reference to a wide range of literary critics, literary aestheticians, and art theorists for the construction of a theoretical model that addresses the complex issue of the novel as an Art form. Furthermore, Banville’s work is particularly suitable for such a theoretical approach because he has always distinguished between literary works that be views to be “works of art” and those that are not, and his work has always been self-reflexively consumed with embedded discourses about both the meaning and significance of art, in general, and, more specifically, about his own works as Art objects, rather than as the kind of literature that directly engages with social and material reality.



Academic Relevance

The Book Manuscript
The monograph is unique in several ways. It is the first literary-critical work that seeks to create a schema that argues for the artistic status of the novel form. Secondly, while several books have been written on Banville’s work to date, none have addressed the key issue of Banville’s fascination with Art and the status of his own novels as works of art.

Journal Article
The journal article will be based on the theoretical schema that is formulated from the Introduction to the monograph, but rather than being focused on only Banville, it will be a theoretical literary-critical essay that seeks to address some key questions about the relationship between art and literature, and will consider whether questions of artistic beauty have any real significance for literature.