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Abgesagt: Samuel Fischer-Gastprofessur im Wintersemester 20/21: Elif Batuman "Fictionality and the Novel"

01.09.2020 - 30.09.2020

Leider wurde das Seminar von Elif Batuman aufgrund von Corona abgesagt.

“No feature of the novel seems to be more obvious and yet more easily ignored than its fictionality,” writes Catherine Gallagher (“The Rise of Fictionality”). “Fiction” is a major part of the standard English definition of “the novel” (“a long, fictional prose narrative”); yet it is a concept that goes unmentioned in most theories of the novel. We have all learned that the novel is the epic of a world abandoned by gods, or the building block of nationalism, or the record of its own formal creation; that it is defined by dialogism, irony, or a vernacular portrayal of everyday life. But I have never totally understood why the novel couldn’t be any or all of these things, while maintaining a referential relationship to reality. Why is that not how it happened? Why are novels fictional, or why are they traditionally considered to be fictional? Why are novels that refuse the “alibi of fiction” treated as exceptions or “hybrid” works, requiring some further qualification? I would like to investigate these questions through the idea of censorship. Topics to consider: Don Quixote in relation to the life of Cervantes (and the political critiques he was or was not able to make outside of “fiction”); the role of journalism and newspapers in the “rise of the novel” in eighteenth-century England (when many of the pioneers of the novel, e.g. Defoe, were also journalists); the historical relationship between novels and libel law; the psychoanalytic relationship between censorship and dream production; the premium placed on fictionality in Henry James’s Art of the Novel, and its relationship to James’s sexuality; and the institutional depoliticization of “creative writing” in America during the Cold War.”

(Auskünfte im Sekretariat bei Cornelia Colsman, E- Mail: avl@zedat.fu-berlin.de)