Department of Literature

Eighteenth-Century Studies

The eighteenth century is the subject of intense international research and still arouses passionate controversy. Was it the starting-point for the notion of human rights – or did the European Enlightenment contribute to oppression of non-European peoples? Why read Voltaire, Goethe, Sterne, and the Swedish woman writer Nordenflycht? Can the reading of subversive books be related to the outbreak of the French Revolution? Did the eighteenth century imply the death of classical rhetoric? How did the role of the author evolve in Europe and in Sweden, and how can we analyse the shifts between different systems of literary norms? What was the significance of women authors and printers, of religious minorities, of travellers to non-European countries?

The Department of Literature at Uppsala University has developed a strong competence in the field of eighteenth-century studies since the 1980s. A number of researchers working at the Department or attached to it are eighteenth-century specialists, and a number of publications have recently been issued or will appear shortly.

The Interdisciplinary Seminar in Eighteenth-Century Studies (link to Swedish page) is a forum for eighteenth-century scholars across geographical, disciplinary and generational boundaries. Work in progress and new publications are discussed at the meetings. The seminar is funded by the Department of Literature. It celebrated its twentieth anniversary in October 2015 (1995-2015).