Epistemological border

The epistemological border is the border on the plane of knowledge: the border between the known and the unknown. That which lies on the other side of for example a topographic border is often perceived as unknown. The border and the border zone, because of its hybrid, ambivalent status, can also be perceived as being unknown and thus on the other side of an epistemological border.

In terms of a progressive, enlightenment view of history, the epistemological border is constantly expanding. However, this expansion is countered by processes of forgetting.

The epistemological is a specific kind of symbolic border, being as it is based on a form of opposition.

In border poetics the epistemological border is often associated with fiction, with figural language such as metaphor, and genres such as the romance and the fantastic.

"Near the border, figurality goes up." (Moretti 45)


  • Moretti, Franco. Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900. London: Verso, 1998.

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