Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Seminar

Notes on the contemporary Art Novel

  • Dr Carlos Garrido Castellano (University College Cork)
Tuesday 14 February 2023
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden

This seminar engages with a body of recent fiction that is investing in redefining and expanding the literary tradition of the artist novel. The Künstlerroman is a recurrent genre in European literary tradition; expanding our understanding of this genre, in this lecture I argue that contemporary art novels from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America invest in imagining how personal, social and economic relationships within creative art worlds could be otherwise. My main goal is to explain how contemporary literature is globally dealing with artistic creativity when artmaking is no longer a specialised field of cultural production, but rather an expanded field of socioeconomic interaction, personal and creative self-definition and collective imagination. 

The seminar comprises of two elements: the first part is a theoretical discussion of the contemporary art novela kind of fiction that is no longer interested in the figure of the artist, but rather in the blurred action of “the work of art in the world” (Sommer 2013). The second part will include a series of exercises oriented toward a practical exploration of the narrative techniques mobilised by creative capitalism to deal with processes of subject formation, personal and professional self-realisation and digital curating.  

Date of seminar: Tuesday 14th February
Time: 10:15 – 11:15 (part 1) and 11:30 – 12:45 (part 2)
Location: Johan Huizinga 0.06

Suggested readings

  • Michel Feher (2009), “Self-Appreciation; or, The Aspirations of Human Capital.” Public Culture 21 (1): 21-41. (available in LU library)
  • Sarah Brouillette (2014) “Introduction.” In Literature and the Creative Economy. Stanford: Stanford University Press. (available in LU library)
  • A compilation of excerpts from novels (available through email. Pls email to m.k.valjakka@hum.leidenuniv.nl to receive them)

About the speaker

Dr Carlos Garrido Castellano is Lecturer of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University College Cork, Ireland. He is the author of Beyond Representation in Contemporary Caribbean Art (2019), Art Activism for an Anticolonial Future (2021) and Literary Fictions of the Contemporary Art System (2022). He is currently working on three projects: on cultural labour and crea-tive paradigms in contemporary literatures in Portuguese; on the genealogies of modernism in the Caribbean; and on ecological crisis, alt-right politics and the subversive potential of the carnivalesque.

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