Colloque « Empathy and the Aesthetics of Language »


Webinar, Thursday Oct. 5-Friday Oct. 6, 2023

Organizers : Vittorio Gallese, David Romand, and Hannah Wojciehowski



Presentation :

For three decades, the question of the role played by empathy in the aesthetic apprehension of language, and notably in the experience of literature, has been the topic of a growing number of studies. A joint project of the University of Parma, Aix-Marseille University and the University of Texas at Austin, this two-day webinar brings together thirteen experts – philosophers, literary theorists, neuroscientists, psychologists, historians – whose contributions will be published in two special issues of Texas Studies for Literature and Language (TSLL). Taken together, the talks proposed aim at offering an updated and encompassing discussion of recent, but also older research in the field. The webinar intends to address the question of empathy and the aesthetics of language from a cross-disciplinary and cross-methodological perspective, by giving room to both theoretical and empirical approaches and tackling the concept of empathy in all its semantic diversity. The place of empathy in the aesthetic experience of language and literature, the nature and variety of literary and narrative empathy, the involvement of aesthetic empathy in reading, hearing, speaking, and writing, the role of emotions/feelings in literary empathetic experience, the empathological reassessment of narratological categories, and the early 20th-century origins of literary empathy studies are some of the core issues that will be discussed.


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