About the project

The project Space of Slovenian Literary Culture (J6-4245; 1 July 2011 – 30 June 2014) is the first in Slovenia to connect literary studies and geography in a systematic interdisciplinary research. Using the Geographic Information System (GIS), it studies the development of mutual influences between the ethnically Slovenian geographic space and Slovenian literature. The project covers the period 1780–1940, from the beginnings of belles-lettres in Slovenian to WW II, when Slovenian literary culture attained full institutional and media development, and stylistic, genre, and ideological differentiation. The ethnically Slovenian territory was multilingual and multicultural; it belonged to different state entities with distant capitals, what was reflected in the spatial dynamic of literary culture. The project postulates that the socio-geographical space did not exclusively determine the development of literature and its media, but that it influenced it. On the other hand, literature itself, through its discourse, practices, and institutions, had a reverse influence on the apprehension and structuring of that space, as well as on its connection with the broader region, Europe, and the world. The literary discourse in Slovenian was able to manifest itself in public dominantly through the history of spatial factors:

  • the formation, territorial expansion, and concentration of the social network of literary actors and media in ethnically Slovenian lands;
  • the persistent references of literary texts to places that were recognized by addressees as Slovenian, thereby creating and giving meaning to the idea of an ethnically coherent space; these spatial references in public media were involved in grounding a national ideology.

By making use of GIS, the project maps and spatially analyzes statistically relevant data of literary history: life trajectories and memorials of important writers and other actors in literary culture; locations of media and institutions that establish the infrastructure of literary field; and spaces represented in historical novels. With all this and based on meta-theoretical reflection, the project aims to contribute to the development of digital humanities and spatial literary studies. The research results are accessible to the public: in the late summer 2014, the Literary Atlas of Ljubljana will be printed, while the present website, by making GIS maps public, enables the use of project findings for the furtherance of literary geography and spatial literary studies, as well to policymakers for the preservation of cultural heritage, to schools, the tourism industry, and local governments for the planning of space use.

The project team:

Data collection: Students of the Department of Slovenian Studies, Faculty of Arts – University of Ljubljana under supervision of Assistant Professor Urška Perenič.

Software and website design: Joh Dokler, Sedem čez devet d.o.o., Ljubljana.

Sponsored by: Slovenian Research Agency.

Contact: mjuvan (at) zrc-sazu.si

Key words: literary culture / literary history / literary geography / literary atlas / spatial analysis / mapping