Literary Universals

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.


(860) 486-2141
University of Connecticut
Department of English
215 Glenbrook Road, U-4025
Storrs, CT 06269-4025

Recent Articles

  • Etiological Animal Tales as a Typological Universal (Lecture Video)
    Michelle Scalise Sugiyama, University of Oregon Abstract. Hunting demands extensive knowledge of animal behavior, characteristics, and habitat, raising the question of how foragers acquire this knowledge. One potential source is etiological animal tales (EAT), which are pervasive in forager oral tradition and explain the origin of a species’ distinctive physical and/or behavioral traits. If these stories serve as a repository for […]
    Held at The University of Connecticut, Storrs, on 24 May 2019 From the Organizers (Pat Hogan, Severi Luoto, and Arnab Roy): Many thanks to all the participants in this memorable event! Literary universals include properties and structures ranging, for example, from genre patterns through metaphor and imagery, and from ethical or political themes through formal features […]
    LITERARY UNIVERSALS WORKSHOP 24 May 2019 This workshop is made possible by a generous grant from the University of Connecticut Office of the Vice President for Research, as well as funding from the Department of English and the Department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages at the University of Connecticut, and the Emil Aaltonen Foundation. The […]