Complex changes have buffeted the discipline of literature during the past decades, calling on us to rethink its academic and cultural definitions, boundaries, and territories. Texts which until recently have not been examined within literary studies (such as films, online texts, and visual artifacts) have “invaded” the disciplinary borders, while literary texts have “leaked” into other disciplines, such as history, sociology, political science, and medicine. Moreover, in the academic field of literature, two opposing camps are currently competing. On one side, researchers delve into aesthetic-structural analyses of literary texts, and on the other, scholars examine literature as reflection of cultural and ideological power relations. With these academic processes at hand one wonders what becomes of literature as a set of texts and as an academic domain. Is it principally a research methodology — a way of observing, reading collecting, organizing, and interpreting information on reality? Or is it an object in itself? The article addresses this unresolved tension, outlining several new ways to manage this cultural and academic unclarity.

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