“The Beginnings of the Novel in the Twenty-First Century” – a Lecture by Dr. Csaba Maczelka

The Department of English and the Centre for Popular Culture cordially invite everyone to a lecture by Dr. Maczelka on the development of the novel in the context of digital literary studies.

In his lecture, Dr. Maczelka will address the development of the novel form in English literature in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The lecture begins with an overview of Ian Watt’s fundamental work, The Rise of the Novel, highlighting the key features of the genre as identified by Watt, and offering an explanation for the immense influence of the monograph. The next part of the talk will deal with the different perspectives from which Watt’s compelling model was criticized later. Particular attention will be paid to the restrictive, and exclusivist nature of Watt’s narrative, but the narrative itself will become a site of contest following modern critics’ views. The final part of the lecture puts all this in the context of twenty-first century developments in the field that is now conventionally referred to as “digital literary studies.ˮ Important early results delivered by Franco Moretti were naturally focusing on the history of the novel to prove how a change in scale that modern digital technologies enable could influence the traditional narratives of literary history. The lecture will deal with the implications of the digital change as they are reflected in narratives of the history of the novel and will also outline possible future directions of research.

Csaba Maczelka, PhD, is an associate professor at the Institute of English Studies at the University of Pécs (Hungary). His primary research area is early modern English literature, particularly the history of sixteenth-seventeenth century English utopias and prose fiction. He published a Hungarian monograph on early modern English utopias and their reception in Hungary (2019), a Hungarian handbook for Thomas More’s Utopia (2020), and numerous English and Hungarian articles and translations about early modern English and Hungarian literature; more recently he has started publishing about digital humanities.

The lecture will take place at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Osijek on Thursday, 7 March 2024 at 9:45 a.m. in room 39.