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On the Theoretical and Aesthetic Design of Peripety

The Soviet Thaw of the 1960s saw the emergence of a new generation of poets engaging critically with the poetic forms of socialist realism. Image: Soviet poet Robert Rozhdestvennsky at the 3rd All-Union Celebration of Pushkin Poetry, Pushkin Academic Drama Theatre in Pskov, 1969. RIA Novosti archive, image 681907 / Roman Denisov / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The fourth research frame pertains to projects that deal more intensively with the self-reflective potential of the concept of peripety. This area of inquiry includes studies which critique their own discipline (or a field of research within that discipline) regarding its dependency on certain peripetic constructions. The frame also opens up the possibility of including projects that work to develop narratological methodology as well as metatheoretical questions regarding the term ‘peripety’. Besides philosophy and media studies, those disciplines that relate to the performative production of meaning in artistic works are especially relevant in this context, because from romanticism onwards self-reflection has been inherent to all fine arts. All projects from the field of literary studies will therefore per se deal with texts that reflect their own means of telling stories, i.e. their own means of constructing peripeties.

The aim of this research frame is to apply the self-reflective potential of the humanities to the analysis of peripeties: How is the irrevocability of the peripety reflected in the process of its representation in the artistic work? Does the choice of medium influence the construction of the peripety? The starting and testing points of meta-theoretical reflection will be those peripeties that have developed agency in narratives in and of the Baltic Sea Region, or are of relevance for the Baltic Sea Region, whether these locate the defining moment of change in the past or the future. The “Fall of the Iron Curtain” initiated a revival of the genre of the historical novel in former socialist countries. How do formal decisions such as a present tense narration affect the retrospective understanding of historico-political turning points? How do different narratives of crisis in ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ historiography relate to the notion of peripety? This research frame has two interwoven subsections: one of history of science and one that aims at a deepened theorising of the term peripety.

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