Modeled on the study of linguistic universals, the Literary Universals Project has two specific purposes. First, it should facilitate access to established work on literary universals, which has otherwise been scattered. Second, it should foster the advancement of further research on literary universals. These specific purposes should in turn contribute to our more general knowledge about literature and, ultimately, our understanding of the human mind and human society.


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Recent Articles

  • HUMAN UNIVERSALS (1991): Reflections on its Whence and Whither
    By: Donald Brown, University of California at Santa Barbara Human universals have been a part of anthropological thought from the field’s academic beginning, yet to my knowledge no book devoted to the topic had been published for many decades before mine of 1991, Human Universals. I here recount how that book came about, along with […]
  • Contingent Universals
    By: Ted Nannicelli, University of Queensland, Australia In the context of scholarship on the arts, the term “contingent universals” derives from a 1996 essay by the preeminent film historian and theorist, David Bordwell. [1] The essay, entitled “Convention, Construction, and Cinematic Vision,” was reprinted in an expanded form in 2008, and it is this version I shall […]
  • Automatic versus Socially Developed Universals: Comments on Nannicelli
    Patrick Colm Hogan, University of Connecticut For years, I have misunderstood David Bordwell’s idea of contingent universals. When I read Ted Nannicelli’s explication of the concept (“Contingent Universals“), I thought he was wrong on some points. So, I asked David Bordwell. He said that Nannicelli had gotten things exactly right. In this comment, I therefore do […]