Svend Erik Larsen - Biography#


B.1946. MA in Scandinavian Studies, Aarhus University 1974, Odense University's goldmedal, 1972, Dr. phil. 1987. Assist. Prof. and Assoc. Prof at Department of Literature, Odense University 1973-1992, Center Director at Humanities Research Center: Man and Nature, Odense University 1992-1997. Professor of European Culture, Odense University 1997. - From 1998 Professor of Comparative Literature, Aarhus University.

Board member of the international doctoral schools Synapsis and Hermes. On Board of Directors, International Comparative Literature Association 1991-2004 and member of its Coordinating Committee from 2007, its secretary 2010-2013. Member of Academia Europaea since 2004, chair of session for Literature and Theatre Studies (2010-2012). Member of the Danish Research Council for Culture and Communication since 2005, its vice-president from 2009. Co-editor of the journal Orbis Litterarum from 2008.

Author/co-author of 10 books, some translated into English, French and Croatian, ca. 350 articles and editor of several Danish and international anthologies and special issues. Visiting lecturer in many countries and organizer of Danish and international conferences.

Research interests:

In his early carrier, Prof. Larsen has worked with language philosophy and semiotics in particular. Hence, many of publications focus on the study of sign system by which we generate and express culture and consciousness. This topic has been presented in Fortælleteori (1975) and Sémiologie littéraire (1984). The most comprehensive result in this field is his dissertation on the work of the Danish linguist Viggo Brøndal. An English translation of Tegn i brug (1994) was published with Routledge in 2002 under the title Signs in Use.

Another research domain is literature and culture in the moderns city. Over the last 200 years the metropolis has embraced more and more aspects of the arts and of the everyday experience in the lives of a growing number of humans, including those who live far beyond the last stop of the bus. Literature gives shape to the imaginations we as humans create on urban conditions and thereby integrates the open and flexible urban reality and its global effects in an aesthetic and communicative context that allows us to grasp it, both in a historical and a topical perspective. In this field Erik Larsen has written on Honoré de Balzac among others.

A third field interest is the role of literature in the shaping of the fundamental ideas by which we, in different ways throughout history, interpret our individual and collective lives, for example nature, solitude, memory, personal formation or Bildung. On these topics he has published in Danish the books Naturen er ligeglad with Rosinante in 1996 and Mutters alene with Gads Forlag in 2002, and a book on Balzac I byen med Balzac was published in Danish with Odense University Press in 2002. The idea of personal formation has been instrumental for his engagement in the ongoing reform of the Danish high school system.

A textbook on literary historiography, composed together with Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, har appeared with Aarhus University Press in 2005. In 2007 appeared Tekster uden grænser. Litteratur og globalisering with Aarhus University press. A co-authored literary history for high schools, litteraturDK, appeared with Lindhardt & Ringhof in 2009. Current book project is an introduction to literature for Aarhus University Press' series Univers.

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