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Inger Brodey, Professor of Comparative Literatures and Cinema, UNC

In her talk, Literary Linearity, East and West, Professor Inger Brodey reflects on literary linearity and its opposites, as pursued at different times both in Europe and Japan.  Her talk is also a reflection on the mutuality of influence, the ways in which we perceive others through our own cultural self-understanding, and the way in which the visual arts lead us into more open cultural exchange.

Professor Brodey is Bank of America Distinguished Term Professor of Honors, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Affiliate faculty in the Department of Asian Studies, Affiliate faculty in Global Studies, Director of the Comparative Literature Program, and Director of the Global Cinema Minor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel HIll

With a background in comparative literature and political philosophy, Dr. Brodey is a committed comparatist, both in terms of the cross-cultural comparison of literatures and in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature. Her primary interest is in the history of the novel in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Europe and Meiji Japan. She works in German, Japanese, French, and Italian, as well as English and her native Danish.

Dr. Brodey’s book Ruined by Design: Shaping Novels and Gardens in the Culture of Sensibility (Routledge, 2008) won the 2009 SAMLA Studies Book Award. Her book draws on fictional narratives, landscape architecture, discussions of ‘natural’ language, guides to rhetoric, philosophical writings, and other aspects of the culture of sensibility in England, France, and Germany, to offer a new synthesis of its literary and material culture: Ruined by Design reveals a widespread discomfort with authorship and authority in general, which led to innovative new structures in the fledging novel, as well as in landscape gardens and their architecture. 

Her Rediscovering Natsume Sôseki (Global Press, 2000) includes the first English translation of Sôseki’s Mankan Tokoro Dokoro (Travels through Manchuria and Korea), co-translated from Japanese with Sammy Tsunematsu. Her current research is on connections between Meiji Japan and post-Enlightenment Europe, particularly involving changes in the understanding of the novel as a genre, as well as the connection between Natsume Sôseki and Jane Austen.  She also is working on a book-length manuscript entitled Cowboys and Samurai: Authority, Nation-Making, and Individualism, as well as a separate project on the cultural currency of Jane Austen in Asia.