School of Humanities

Contemporary literary theory

This course is part of the programme:
Master in Slovene Studies - Literary Science

Objectives and competences

The main objective of the course is to introduce to the students the contemporary trends in literary studies, and, at the same time, strengthen their knowledge of ideas, objectives and terms that belong to more traditional literary and theoretical practices. Moreover, we want to emphasize the connection between theory and practice, namely, on the application of various theories onto literary texts, or rather, their analysis. The students are encouraged to form their own arguments and conclusions, especially in their seminar works as well as thorough their participation in class.


The students attending this class should have some basic knowledge of literary theory and literary history, namely, they should be familiar with the key ideas and terminology of literary studies and use this knowledge in their class assignments, such as seminar work and, naturally, the final exam. In addition to that, students should have sufficient knowledge of world and Slovene literature, as the theoretical premises invariably mix with practical examples. The conventional ideas of (traditional) literary theory are connected with ideas and trends known in contemporary literary theory which functions as an interdisciplinary and a transnational research discipline.

Content (Syllabus outline)

The course is designed in such way that it revises the main literary studies terms and aspects (related to morphology, ontology and phenomenology of literary works) and upgrades them with a contemporary outlook on literary theory and history, including connecting the two branches of literary studies, namely, literary theory and literary history with other disciplines and areas of research, i.e., history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and media studies, to name a few. The course (the lectures and the seminars) highlight the main characteristics of major literary schools, starting with New Criticism and moving all the way to Empirical Literary Studies, as designed by S. Schmidt and brought to Slovenia mostly by M. Juvan and M. Dović. We are interested in European as well as broader literary studies developments (e.g. those in the US).

Intended learning outcomes

The students attending the class familiarize themselves with the main literary schools of thought and theories related to them, those associated with more traditional approaches and – in more detail – those favoring contemporary trends and ideas in literary studies. The students are encouraged to develop critical and analytical approaches to reading and understanding of texts, and they, at the same time, through writing their seminar essays, practice and improve their academic writing skills.


Sodobna literarna teorija. Ur. Aleš Pogačnik. Ljubljana: Krtina, 1995.

M. Dović: Sistemske in empirične obravnave literature. Ljubljana: ZRC SAZU, 2004.

M. Juvan: Literarne veda v rekonstrukciji. Ljubljana: Literatura, 2006.

M. Kmecl: Mala literarna teorija. Ljubljana: Zavod RS za šolstvo, 1983.

J. Kos: Literarna teorija. Ljubljana: DZS, 2001

L. Flis: Factual Fictions. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2010.

T. Virk: Moderne metode literarne vede in njihove filozofsko-teoretske osnove. Ljubljana: Filozofska fakulteta, 1999.

Janko Kos. »Uvod v metodologijo literarne vede.« Primerjalna književnost XI, 1988,št 1.

T. Eagleton: Marksizem in literarna kritika. Ljubljana: Sophia

Literary Theory: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 1983.

Ruski formalisti. Ur. Aleksander Skaza. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, 1984.

M. Bahtin. Teorija romana: izbrane razprave. Ljubljana, CZ 1982.

___. Problemi poetike Dostojevskega. Ljubljana: LUD Literatra, 2007.

W. Iser: Bralno dejanje: Teorija estetskega učinka. Ljubljana: Studia Humanitatis, 2001.

____.The Implied Reader. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Uni Press, 1974.

H.R. Jauss. Estetsko izkustvo in literarna hermenevtika. LUD Literatura, zbirka Labirinti, Ljubljana, 1998.

J.-F. Lyotard: Postmoderno stanje: poročilo o vednosti. Ljubljana : Društvo za teoretsko psihoanalizo, 2002.

Poleg omenjenih del so del kurza tudi številni eseji, ki jih beremo tudi v angleškem jeziku in tako študente pripravljamo na vstop v mednarodni znanstveni prostor.

Apart from the above listed works, we also incorporate in our syllabus the readings of scholarly essays in English and thus attempt to prepare students for the possible entry into the international academic community.


The students have to pass the final exam and before that, achieve a sufficient grade at their mid/term test as well as complete and present two seminar works. The mid/term test and the seminars are the prerequisites for the students to be able to take the final exam. Mandatory (80%) attendance (lectures and the seminar) and participation in class discussions.

Lecturer's references

Leonora Flis is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Humanities at the University of Nova Gorica. She teaches Contemporary Literary Theory, Selected Topics in World Literature (British and American Literature), and Literature and Other Arts (Film). Additionally, her areas of research include: literary journalism, documentary literature and documentary graphic novels (comics). Flis also writes book and film reviews and translates academic and literary texts.

The selection of published texts:

Scientific Monograph

FLIS, Leonora. Factual fictions : narrative truth and the contemporary American documentary novel. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2010. XII, 254 str. ISBN 9781-4438-24130-2. ISBN 1-4438-2413-5. [COBISS.SI-ID 44359522]

Original Scientific Article

1. FLIS, Leonora. Louis Adamič : Slovene-American literary journalism avant la lettre. Slov. stud., 2011, vol. 33, no. 2, str. 115-132. [COBISS.SI-ID 2404091]

2. FLIS, Leonora. The blending of fact and fiction in three American documentary (crime) narratives. Acta neophilol., 2010, letn. 43, št. 1/2, str. 69-82, 171-172. [COBISS.SI-ID 44265058]

3. FLIS, Leonora. Documentary narratives in postmodern times : The United States and Slovenia. Slov. stud., 2009, vol. 31, no. 1, str. 31-49. [COBISS.SI-ID 39872098]

4. FLIS, Leonora. Vznik ameriškega dokumentarnega romana in njegove postmoderne razsežnosti. Primer. književ., 2007, letn. 30, št. 1, str. 153-166. [COBISS.SI-ID 5924126]

Review Article

5. FLIS, Leonora. Literary journalism in Slovenia. Literary journalism, Winter 2012, vol. 6, no. 1, str. 8-10. [COBISS.SI-ID 2196731]

6. FLIS, Leonora. Spisana pot v sebe : avtobiografska proza Lojzeta Kovačiča v kontekstu problematike avtobiografskega žanra o polifoniji in dvoglasju. Literatura (Ljublj.), mar. 2011, leto 23, št. 237, str. 189-195. [COBISS.SI-ID 1793787]

7. FLIS, Leonora. Domačnost izpraznjenega bivanja in ljubezenske slutnje : pregled pripovednega opusa Janija Virka. Literatura (Ljublj.), jul.-avg. 2010, leto 22, št. 229-230, str. 202-218. [COBISS.SI-ID 43532386]

8. FLIS, Leonora. Racionalna sebičnost kot temeljna vrednota in vrlina. Literatura (Ljublj.), 2010, leto 22, št. 231/232, str. 86-88. [COBISS.SI-ID 1786107]

9. FLIS, Leonora. Izpiljena sinteza forme in razuma. Literatura (Ljublj.), nov. 2010, leto 22, št. 233, str. 165-171. [COBISS.SI-ID 1785851]

10. FLIS, Leonora. Slovenia’s contemporary poetic endeavors. Bricolage, May 2006, no. 1, str. 29-39. [COBISS.SI-ID 39895650]

11. FLIS, Leonora. Cultural shades of Slovenia : a brief outlook of Slovenia’s literature: discovering the literature of Europe’s Terra Incognita. Zarja, Jan./Feb. 2006, vol. 78, issue 1, str. 6-7. [COBISS.SI-ID 39852386]

Professional Article

12. FLIS, Leonora. Evropski Woody Allen : vnovično iskanje smisla in/ali premagovanje dolgčasa. Dialogi (Maribor), 2011, let. 47, št. 1/2, str. 161-165. [COsBISS.SI-ID 1851131]

13. FLIS, Leonora. Ekstaza blodenj in bolečine. Dialogi (Maribor), 2011, let. 47, št. 5/6, str. 89-93. [COBISS.SI-ID 2194683]

University course code: 2SL1002

Year of study: 1

Course principal:




  • Lectures: 30 hours
  • Exercises: 30 hours
  • Seminar: 30 hours
  • Individual work: 180 hours

Course type: obligatory

Languages: slovene

Learning and teaching methods:
• lectures • group discussion (moderated by the professor) • seminar sections intended for students' analyses of literary-theoretical texts as well as literary texts, read in class or at home. group discussion among all the participants of the seminar sections. • seminar work (essays based on selected key works in literary theory – summary and the students' own commentary on the depicted theoretical school and application of its theories onto literary texts) • class presentations of two seminar essays and joint discussion