David Miall


It is with great sadness that we learned this past weekend, that our dear friend, David Miall, passed away on Friday the 8th of October. Some of you may know that David suffered from Parkinson’s disease these last couple of years and now the disease has finally taken him from us. He died peacefully in his sleep in his home in Chaillac in France.

David was such an integral part of our community, a highly valued colleague, mentor and friend. He was IGEL’s president from 2004 to 2006, and for a long time he was a regular at every IGEL conference. What is more, he was one of the founding fathers of this field, putting the empirical study of literature on the map. A lot of our current members received training and mentorship from him in the research group he led together with Don Kuiken in Edmonton. This means that for a lot of us he was the one who introduced us to the empirical study of literature and kindly welcomed us into the IGEL family.

We will always be grateful to him for that and we will miss him dearly.

The IGEL board

The Society's Mandate

The aim of the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (Internationale Gesellschaft für Empirische Literaturwissenschaft; IGEL) is to advance empirical literary research through interdisciplinary and international cooperation. The Society supports efforts to apply, or facilitate the application of, scientific methods to study of the structure and function of literature, especially its aesthetic function. Literature is broadly defined as all cultural artifacts that embody literary devices, such as narrative genre, stylistic variations, and figurative language. The domain includes novels, short stories, and poetry, but also theater, film, television, and digital media.

A German 'igel'

An Organizational Tidbit:

As an international society, the IGEL acronym has two intriguing translations. First, in German, igel means 'hedgehog,' which explains the acronym and our logo. This motif echoes German contributions to the formation and continued support of IGEL (Internationale Gesellschaft für Empirische Literaturwissenschaft). Moreover, in Basque, 'igel' means 'frog,' which echoes the society's efforts to become a genuinely international professional association. Although heavily supported by researchers in North America and Europe, IGEL membership includes researchers from China, Japan, Israel, Brazil, and elsewhere. And, the most recent biennial conference was attended by researchers from 22 different countries.

A Basque 'igel'