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.


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.


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

(Adjunct) Associate Professor dr. Leonora Flis. Leonora Flis focuses on literary theory, contemporary British and American Literature, film (especially in relation to literature), graphic novels and literary journalism. She also writes book and film reviews, translates scholarly texts and literary works, and writes short stories. She published a collection of short stories Upogib časa (2015) and in 2022 her new collection Enakozvočja is to be published. She was the recipient of the Fulbright fellowship and was a visiting Fulbright scholar at Columbia University in New York. She is the author of a monograph Factual Fictions: Narrative Truth and the Contemporary American Documentary Novel (2010). Her scientific articles have been published in Slovene and foreign journals.

The selection of published texts:

FLIS, Leonora. Social engagement and multiculturalism in Louis Adamic's literary journalism and documentary prose. Dve domovini: razprave o izseljenstvu. [Tiskana izd.]. 2020, št. 51, str. 59-75.

FLIS, Leonora. Med leposlovjem in poročanjem. Sodobnost. okt. 2021, letn. 85, št. 10, str. 1279-1292.

FLIS, Leonora. Grafične pripovedi in pripovednost. Primerjalna književnost, ISSN 0351-1189. [Tiskana izd.], maj 2020, letn. 43, št. 1, str. 51-74.

FLIS, Leonora. Družbeni angažma v literarnem novinarstvu Louisa Adamiča. V: DAUGUL, Larisa (ur.). Strpnost ni dovolj: prispevki s konference Iz mnogih dežel: ob 120. obletnici rojstva Louisa Adamiča, (Borec, ISSN 0006-7725, letn. 70 (2018), št. 751-753). Ljubljana: Sophia. 2018, [Letn.] 70, št. 751/753, str. [140]-149, 217-218.

FLIS, Leonora. Factual fictions: narrative truth and the contemporary American documentary novel. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2010.

FLIS, Leonora. Profiling war: managing trauma in reporting horror: the case of Boštjan Videmšek. V: JOSEPH, Sue (ur.). Profile pieces: journalism and the "human interest" bias, (Routledge research in journalism, 13). New York; London: Routledge, cop. 2016, 226-239.

FLIS, Leonora. Obraz postkomunizmu Europy Wschodniej i Bałkanów w pisarstwie Slavenki Drakulić. V: GRACZYK, Ewy (ur.). Białe maski / szare twarze: ciało, pamięć, performatywność w perspektywie postzależnościowej, (Seria Wydawnicza Centrum Badań Dyskursów Postzależnościowych, t. 5). Kraków: Towarzystwo Autorów i Wydawców Prac Naukowych Universitas, cop. 2015, str. 151-166. Communism’s Legacy in Slavenka Drakulić’s Writing on Eastern Europe and the Balkan. (Podoba postkomunistične vzhodne Evrope in Balkana v zapisih Slavenke Drakulić).

FLIS, Leonora. Nonfiction comics as a medium of remembrance and mourning and as a cosmopolitan genre of social and political engagement. V: CORNIS-POPE, Marcel (ur.). New literary hybrids in the age of multimedia expression : crossing borders, crossing genres, (A comparative history of literatures in European languages, ISSN 0238-0668, vol. 27). Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2014, 230-250.

Texts to be published:

“Nan Shepherd’s Holistic World – an Intimate Triangle: Nature, Body and Mind in The Living Mountain”, volume
Representations, Scenes and Scenarios of Intimacy in Women’s Writing. Pro Universitaria Publishing House ( 2022.
The Narrative of Migration and Feminism in Slavenka Drakulić’s Selected Works. Dve domovini. (Februar 2023).