Call for Papers for an edited volume "Litany in the Arts and Culture"

Magdalena Kowalska's picture
Call for Publications
June 20, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Composition & Rhetoric, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, Music and Music History, Religious Studies and Theology


Call for Papers for an edited volume

Litany in the Arts and Culture

Scholars representing various disciplines are kindly encouraged to submit paper proposals focusing on litanies and their forms and representations in different spheres of culture, including liturgy, literature, music, the visual arts, spirituality, and philosophy. The book Litany in the Arts and Culture edited by Witold Sadowski (University of Warsaw) and Francesco Marsciani (University of Bologna) and composed of selected best papers will be proposed for publication to the editorial board of the Brepols series: Studia Traditionis Theologiae Explorations in Early and Medieval Theology.

The litany derives from ancient religious rites. Throughout the ages, however, it spread across many countries and became much more than a mere form of prayer. As has been demonstrated by the recent studies on the litanic forms in European poetry (cf. the below footnote) it is possible to reconstruct a cultural and literary map of European regions that traces the level of their participation in and contribution to the litanic tradition. The litanic verse is marked by religious semantics, but it also bears the mark of inter-European divisions, such as those experienced between and within various denominations, countries and nations, as well as the original folk cultures. Therefore, the litany may be of interest to scholars specializing in areas such the emergence of national identities and religious minorities, the crossover between art and religion as well as between music and poetry, the history of liturgy and spiritual life, the cultural exchanges between various nations.

Papers focusing on the following perspectives are especially welcome:

— the evolution and status of the litany and litanic prayers in the different rites;

— the litany in musical compositions from the historical and theoretical point of view;

— litanic songs in the history of regional religious cultures;

— litany-like enumerations in folk poetry;

— litanic rhythm in the literature of the ancient Near East (e.g. Syrian and Coptic poetry and prose) as well as in Greek literature (pre-Byzantine and Byzantine, Christian and non-Christian, poetry and prose, various genres);

— litany-like conventions in Jewish liturgical poetry;

— the poetics of litanic and pseudo-litanic texts in the light of philosophy (e.g. the philosophy and theology of language, numbers, names, repeatability);

— litanic rhythm in mystical treatises, letters, and memoirs as well as in philosophical texts;

— the litany as reflected in visual and performing arts.

The papers that are relevant for the general theme of the series: Explorations in Early and Medieval Theology will be treated as priority themes.

Abstract proposals (max. 500 words) and a short bio should be submitted

in English. The final deadline for submission of abstracts is June 20, 2018.

All abstracts will be evaluated by the review committee based on the following criteria: originality, potential significance, clarity of presentation, interest, and consistency with the thematic scope of the book as presented herein. Notifications of acceptance or denial will be e-mailed to authors by July 5, 2018. Authors of selected abstracts will be expected to submit a paper in English by December 10, 2018.

Submission of a paper implies that the work has not been published formerly and that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. The full paper should contain at least 5000 words and not exceed 7500 words including footnotes.

Initial acceptance of an abstract does not automatically mean that a paper will be selected for publication. All papers must be submitted in clear English with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. They should also meet the criteria mentioned above and the guidelines of the Brepols series: Studia Traditionis Theologiae. The final decision regarding publication of the book will be made by the editorial board of the series.

All proposals and queries should be addressed to:

Witold Sadowski is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Polish Literature at the University of Warsaw. Among his publications is a book Litania i poezja on the history of litanic form in Polish poetry from the 11th do the 21st century. His forthcoming book, European Litanic Verse, describes the poetics of European litanies from Antiquity to Early Modernity with a particular focus on the space-time matrix within which the litanic world is depicted in prayers and poetic works. Sadowski is also the leader of the research team Litanic Verse in the Culture of the European Regions. The team composed of twenty-four members is conducting comparative studies on the presence of litanic form in European poetry from Antiquity to the 19th century.*

* Results are published in the following books:

Litanic Verse I: Origines, Iberia, Slavia et Europa Media, eds. Witold Sadowski, Magdalena Kowalska, and Magdalena Maria Kubas (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2016).

Litanic Verse II: Britannia, Germania et Scandinavia, eds. Witold Sadowski, Magdalena Kowalska, and Magdalena Maria Kubas (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2016).

— Magdalena Kowalska, Litanic Verse III: Francia (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018, forthcoming).

— Magdalena Maria Kubas, Litanic Verse IV: Italia (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018, forthcoming).

— Witold Sadowski: European Litanic Verse: A Different Space-Time (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018, forthcoming).

For more information about the project visit our website: In English:

In French: In Polish:

Francesco Marsciani is an Italian semiologist. He is a professor of semiotics and ethnosemiotics at the University of Bologna. He was a student of Umberto Eco in Bologna and Algirdas Greimas in Paris with whom he collaborated for many years. His current concerns include developing the ethnosemiotic perspective in studies on languages and signification. Among his publications are the following books: Ricerche Semiotiche I and II and Tracciati di Etnosemiotica (recently translated into French). He is also the founder and leader of Centro Universitario Bolognese di Etnosemiotica at the University of Bologna (CUBE).

For more information about the centre visit our website (in Italian):

Contact Info: 

Witold Sadowski

Francesco Marsciani

Contact Email: