The end of literature; or, what purposes does it continue to serve?

Itamar Even-Zohar, Elias J. Torres Feijó, Antonio Monegal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article proposes to acknowledge the decline, roughly since the 1950s, in the role of literature as a major mechanism of life models, whether conservative or innovatory, and consequently to reevaluate the rationale of continuing literary studies as they are practiced today. This alleged decline does not mean that nonpractical texts, whether written or oral, have lost their various and often indispensable functions for socialization, developing skills, or emotional intelligence. It essentially means that the centrality of the sociopolitical role fulfilled by such texts — and not less significantly by its producers and promoters — has now shifted to other industries. At the same time, inthe context of intergroup competition for status based on the possession of symbolic goods, literature seems to have preserved its prestige value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-31
Number of pages25
JournalPoetics Today
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Culture research
  • Decline of literature
  • Future of literary studies
  • Social function


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