Detailed information about the course

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Icelandic Sagas, Narratology, and the Paranormal


12 octobre 2022


Prof. Lukas Erne, UNIGE

Mme Elizabeth Skuthorpe, UNIGE


Dr Rebecca Merkelbach, Universität Tübingen


This event centres on narratology and the paranormal in Icelandic sagas. It will consist of a one-hour lecture by Dr Merkelbach, followed by a lengthy question time, in the course of which the PhD students will be asked to engage with issues addressed during the lecture (2 hours); and an interactive workshop, led by Dr Merkelbach. The aim of the lecture is twofold: on the one hand it will introduce a theory of storyworlds based on narratological theory and approaches to fantastic literatures and explore the applicability of key concepts to medieval Icelandic saga literature – for example, the importance of transnarrative storytelling, which world infrastructures can be observed and what role they play in saga worldbuilding. It will then take one of these infrastructures, the paranormal, and trace its expression in difference and sameness across several sagas whose storyworlds can be argued to exist within, or even constitute, a larger 'sagaverse'. It will be shown that the paranormal is so central to saga worldbuilding that its depiction across texts and genres serves to integrate individual saga storyworlds into a bigger narrative universe. In the workshop, these issues will be discussed further. Taking a specific text as a case study (orsteins áttr uxafóts), both questions regarding the paranormal, trollish, and monstrous as well as the world(s) of saga literature will be explored in more detail. The text will be contextualized, and its key themes introduced, leading to a general discussion. While Dr Merkelbach's lecture will focus on Icelandic sagas, anyone with an interest in narratology in relation to fantastic literatures will be welcome to and profit from this event, and will be able to have their work-in-progress discussed.





Deadline for registration 12.10.2022
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