English Literature

21st century Literary Cultures

A new high quality journal, which brings up to the microphone the literary concerns of the present with advice and counsel of the past and the future, was launched by the Department of English at the Faculty of Arts.

The fully-referenced academic journal, CounterText, materialised after preparatory work – spanning years – culminated with support from the Research Trust, made possible via an endowment from Ms Bernie Mizzi. CounterText is published by Edinburgh University Press (EUP) and is published both in print and online three times a year.

CounterText is uniquely centred on the study of literature and its 21st-century extensions. Is literature what it used to be? Are the broader resonances of the literary being overtaken in the drifts towards image cultures, digital spaces, globalisation and technoscientific advances? Or might the literary simply be elsewhere? CounterText seeks and commissions contributions that explore this fluid ‘post-literary’ reality in its various forms and challenges.

For CounterText, the post-literary is the domain in which any artefact that might have some claim on the literary appears. Inevitably, most of these artefacts will conform to familiar manifestations of the literary, doing little to reconfigure cultural givens and accepted notions of textuality. However, the post-literary domain also allows for vital and challenging migrations and mutations of the literary. Such artefacts might be called ‘countertextual’. The countertextual is strategic, energetic, metamorphic and revelatory of the charged evolutions and radical transformations of the literary today.

The journal is informed by perspectives derived from literary criticism, cultural criticism, philosophy and political theory, with a particular interest in studying technology’s reshaping of literary and post-literary cultures.


The fact that CounterText forms part of EUP’s prestigious list of books and series within literary studies speaks for itself, as does the endorsement provided by Prof.Simon Critchley, from the New School in New York:

CounterText puts high on the agenda of literary criticism the question of literature’s studies,which speaks about thisall the time, now finds what it hasn’t quite had: a journal with that question as its primary focus. CounterText gives us a journal we have been missing: a welcome space to talk about literature’s and criticism’s changing lines and shapes and impact.”

New insights into literature

Of course, nothing of this kind materialises overnight. It grew from innumerable discussions that followed the warm encouragement of many. CounterText is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through careful pinpointing and support of those research initiatives at the university of Malta that are aimed at exerting maximal scholarly impact within international fora. The editors of CounterText particularly note our appreciation for the support provided by Ms Bernie Mizzi.

General Editors Prof. Ivan Callus and Dr James Corby.