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

  • “Human Universals” Conference: Call for Papers
    Fifth Annual ICAS Conference ‘Human Universals’ Friday 31st and Saturday 1st February 2020 Southern Regional College, Newry, Northern Ireland Call For Papers:  In the late 20th century, Brown published his seminal work Human Universals that revealed the numerous linguistic, cultural, cognitive and social behaviours that we share as a species. It seems, we are united […]
  • Counterintuitive Imagery as a Narrative Universal
    Tom Dolack, Wheaton College It has been postulated that religious beliefs “minimally violate ordinary intuitions about how the world is” (Atran, In Gods We Trust 83). This is not to say that religion need be defined by counterintuitive imagery. There is a constellation of behaviors that has been proposed as underlying religion including a “hyperactive agency […]
  • Particular Works and Literary Universals: As You Like It
    Patrick Colm Hogan, University of Connecticut  Particular literary works figure in the study of literary universals principally as data from which researchers may abstract cross-cultural principles. However, the isolation of literary universals may also have consequences for our understanding of individual works. Consider story genre. I have argued that a limited number of such genres […]