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Wolfgang Hottner (University of Bergen)

Wolfgang Hottner

Wolfgang Hottner
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Fellow in Research Area 4: "Literary Currencies"

June 2023

Paratexts of Theory

The global circulation of theory, its translation and transfer into different discursive contexts, owes much to specific forms of the paratext. Think, for example, of the practice of prefaces and postscripts in foreign-language editions, in which the author, translator or another mediator addresses a new audience or comments on the previous reception of the edition. The same is true for other paratexts, such as titles, dedications and mottos, which are altered for new contexts or for accompanying and supplementary texts, like interviews and reviews. The genre of such pre- and post-texts plays a decisive role in understanding the transferability, circulation, global effectiveness and 'connectivity' of theory. This project will explore these paratexts of theory, their general affordances and their concrete effects on the circulation of theory using the examples of authors such as Michel Foucault, Theodor W. Adorno and Judith Butler.

Wolfgang Hottner is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Bergen, Norway. He studied literature, philosophy and art history in Munich, Berkeley and Yale and worked at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature in Berlin from 2017 to 2022. He earned his PhD from Humboldt Universität in 2017, published as Kristallisationen. Ästhetik und Poetik des Anorganischen im späten 18. Jahrhundert with Wallstein Press. He has edited volumes on the history of theory and translation, psychoanalysis and European travel writing on Japan. He has received fellowships and grants from the University of Tokyo (2019), Södertörn University in Stockholm (2020) and was a Research Fellow at the IFK International Research Center for Cultural Studies in Vienna (2021). He is especially interested in aesthetics, literature’s connection to science and media, theories of world literature and translation, and digital literature. Beyond his research he is an active literary critic, translator and essayist.