The Risks of Metatextuality: On the Forms and Processes of Authorial Commentary

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Interférences littéraires / Literaire interferenties: A Multilingual e-Journal of Literary Studies

This issue of Interférences littéraires / Literaire interferenties aims to explore the risks and problems involved in authorial commentary, whether in the form of prefaces, interviews, essays or letters: What risks are involved for authors who produce or leave traces of their reflections on their oeuvre and lives? What sorts of critique may they evoke? What are the risks of specific paratextual genres, and how do authors acknowledge, anticipate and confront these particular risks? More broadly, how do these authors – as well as their editors, readers, and critics – conceive of or confront these risks? What uses do readers and critics make of authors' comments on their writing(s) and what problems might arise when using paratexts to accompany and help explain a particular oeuvre?
This special issue hopes to amass different critical perspectives on the risks of metatextual commentary as it has developed from the end of the 19th century to the present – an era characterized by considerable public interest in the private lives and intimate writings of authors. Particular attention will be paid to how risks are perceived and assessed in relation to metatextuality and how these risks are managed and mediated.

Brief article abstracts of approximately 300 words, together with a short biographical note (name, affiliation and research areas), should be emailed to both Karin Schwerdtner ( and David Martens ( by April 15, 2014. Proposals may be written in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian or Dutch. After the selection process is completed (by the end of May 2014), the editors will invite authors to electronically submit (email) completed articles (by September 1, 2014). These articles will be rigorously peer reviewed. The issue will be published in February 2015. For further information, see: