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

  • Call for Chapter Proposals: Postcolonial Bildungsroman
    Originally an 18th-century German innovation, the bildungsroman became a popular literary genre across the Anglo-American world during the 19th century. A ‘coming of age’ novel about young adults in search of meaning and happiness, the bildungsroman was the literary medium of choice for many writers – including Twain, Dickens, and Kipling – looking to explore […]
  • Narrative Empathy: A Universal Response to Fiction?
    Suzanne Keen, Washington and Lee University The proposition that narrative empathy[1] qualifies as a literary universal could have no less likely an advocate than me. I have argued that no one narrative reliably evokes empathy from all its readers, listeners, or viewers (Empathy and the Novel, 65-84).  I have also suggested that the co-creative work […]