The MDRN lab runs various research projects, a chronological list of which is provided here. Our projects are graciously sponsored by a variety of funding bodies, including the University of Leuven Research Council, the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO), and the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).
Towards a “post-lyric” poetry? The “narrative turn” in Italian poetry between 1955 and 1975 is funded by FWO. It considers the aftermath of 'high' modernist Italian poetry, isolating the increased turn to narrative from the 1950s onward.
The Poetics of the Ciné-roman-photo is a project funded by FWO. It aims to sketch the poetics of a nearly forgotten yet wonderful genre: the publication of films in photonovel format.
European Neo-Avant-Gardes: profile, politics, circulation and mediality is a WOG (Scientific Research Community) funded by FWO. It explores the literary output of the European neo-avant-gardes, focussing particularly on movements in Dutch, French, German and English, and paying special attention to their politics, locality, mediality and genericity.
Comic Modernism: The Reception of Aristophanes in British Poetry, Fiction, and Criticism, 1900-1940 is a research project funded by FWO. It examines the presence of ancient Greek comedy in British modernist literary culture in an attempt to counter the dominant view of modernist literature as a profoundly serious endeavor.
Portraits of Countries and Cities: Literature and Photography is a research project funded by FWO and BELSPO. Focusing mainly on the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, the project examines the verbo-visual make-up and cultural functions of photobooks, made in collaboration between Francophone writers and photographers, that portray specific countries and cities.
Perceptibility Techniques: Restoring Agency in Times of Crisis is a research project funded by FWO. It studies artistic and literary techniques developed in the modernist period that have the capacity to restore ‘perceptibility’, as Walter Benjamin called it, that is, the ability to ‘read’, reorder and map the flow of information, images and opinions in times of confusion.
Ligne Clair Cinema is a project funded by the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT). It argues that concurrent with the development of a 'ligne clair' tradition in comics and graphic literature during the modernist period a similar trend manifested itself in film.
Italian Literary Anthologies of the 20th Century as a Vehicle for Literary Change is a research project funded by FWO. It studies the role of anthologies in (re)defining modern Italian literary history.
On the Crossroads of Literature and Science. The Essayistic and the Scientific Fields in Huxley, Ortega y Gasset and Valéry is a research project funded by FWO. It analyses how essay writers from various European traditions in modernism defined and developed both their writing and their conception of literature according to scientific models.
Literary Expressionism in Flanders, 1914-1930. A history of its concepts and its images is a research project funded by FWO. This project questions the common view that privileges the ‘autonomous’ over the so-called ‘humanitarian’ interpretation of expressionism in Dutch-language literature.
La Fabrique du Patrimoine Littéraire. Les collections d'essais biographiques illustrés en France, 1944-2014 is a project funded by FWO and BELSPO. It studies five book series of illustrated (modernist) writers’ biographies published in France from the post-war period to the present and manifests the importance of such series/biographies in the construction of French literary heritage.
When Literature Meets Cinema. French Literature, 1918-1948 is a research project funded by FWO. It studies how the emergence of cinema affected French literature from the end of World War I to the post-World War II era.
Middlebrow Literature from Flanders in the Interwar Period: Authors and Authority, Genres and Functions is a project funded by the Leuven Research Council. It studies a sample of largely neglected popular middlebrow authors writing in Dutch during the interwar period.
Literature and Lifestyle. Books, Reading and Taste in 20th-Century Writing is a research project funded by FWO. It investigates what people do with (modernist) books in their everyday lives (besides reading them), and looks at how lifestyles were given shape in modernist fiction.
The Regenerative Traditionalism of the Jewish Avant-Garde is a project funded by the Kone Foundation, Finland. It investigates Jewish avant-gardists’ integration into and influence on Western literary cultures and experimental writing.
Arts et Métiers Graphiques: An Example of Tempered Modernism is a project funded by the Leuven Research Council. It examines Arts et métiers graphiques (1927-1939), a leading French graphic design magazine in the interwar period, scrutinising the form and content of the magazine as well as highlighting its 'tempered' variant of modernism.
Toward Another Graphic Novel: Word, Image and Narrative in Comics and the Historical Avant-Gardes is a research in the arts project. Conducted by a practicing graphic novelist, it isolates forms of graphic narration devised by historical avant-gardists that today could take the genre of the graphic novel in new directions.
The Literary Interview: A Study of the Genre and its Mediological Mutations is a research project funded by BELSPO. It examines interviews with writers and charts the genre's literary, cultural, social, and media transformations in the course of the 20th century.
Schriftstellerreden im deutschsprachigen Raum, 1880-1938 is a research project funded by BELSPO. It deals with the genre of the writer’s speech in German-speaking modernism. It builds on a database of over 1400 speeches by 123 (canonised) German and Austrian writers.
Rethinking Immunity in the German novel between 1918-1942 is a research project funded by FWO. It studies literary and narrative modes developed by writers in Germany and Austria between 1918 and 1942 to cope with the anxieties and dangers of modernity's relentless cultural changes.
Modernism's Literariness Reconsidered: on the phonograph and gramophone in the literature of the Low Countries, 1890-1940 is a research project funded by FWO. It investigates how the arrival of the first sound-recording media, the phonograph and its successor, the gramophone, helped change the perception of literary language in modernism.
Literature and Media Innovation (LMI): The Question of Genre Transformation is an Interuniversity Attraction Pole programme (IAP - P 7/01) financed by BELSPO. Coordinated by the MDRN-team in Leuven, it also involves researchers from other Belgian, American and Canadian universities.
L'imaginaire Nobiliaire dans la Littérature Française, 1911-1958 : Un esprit de Chevalerie au XXe Siècle. Alphonse de Châteaubriant, Jean de La Varende et Henry de Montherlant is a research project funded by the Leuven Research Council. It deals with the oeuvres of three writers from the modernist period who were of noble birth: Alphonse de Châteaubriant, Jean de La Varende and Henry de Montherlant.
The Renewal of the Italian Novel around 1930: Contextual Dynamics and Generational Tendencies (1926-1936) is a research project funded by the Leuven Research Council. It revisits the so-called 'neo-realism' of the 1930s and explores the complexity of its novelistic output as well as the literary debates surrounding it.
The Modernist Soundscape: Toward a Theory of the Representation and Perception of Sound in Narrative is a research project sponsored by the Leuven Research Council. It provides an initial framework for the study of sound in modernist narrative texts and applies the framework to the writings of Ford Maddox Ford and Virginia Woolf.
The Documentary Paradigm in Modern Descriptive Poetry, 1900-1950 is a research project funded by FWO. It elaborates a theory of modernist and avant-garde descriptive poetry in French.
The Book in Italy, 1900-1950. Paratextual Elements and Typographic Techniques in Middlebrow Literature is a research project funded by the Leuven Research Council. Concerned with the history of the book, this project studies paratextual and typographic techniques borrowed by middlebrow writing from avant-garde experiments and vice versa.
Modernism and Rhetoric: Literary Culture and Public Speech, 1900-1940 is a research project funded by FWO. It investigates the relationship between English-language literature and rhetoric in the period between 1900 and 1940. Particular attention goes to oratory and the oral delivery of texts by canonised as well as lesser known writers from the period.
Literature and its Multiple Identities, 1900-1950 is a GOA (Orchestrated Research Action) awarded to MDRN by the Research Council of the University of Leuven. This project studies the multiple functions, histories and mediatisations of writing in the modernist period.
Literatures, Literary Aesthetics and Theory: Conflict and Interaction (OLITH) is a WOG (Scientific Research Community) funded by FWO. It gathers researchers from the Leuven MDRN-team as well as from the universities of Vienna, Groningen, Liège and Ghent. It provides a platform for discussions on concepts and issues central to the historical study of European literature.
Concepts of tradition in the literary theories of Ernst Robert Curtius, Frank Kermode and Antoine Compagnon is a research project funded by FWO. It investigates various conceptions of tradition in literary theory in part to counter modern historiography's predilection for the new and innovation.