Philologisches Seminar

Tübingen Working Group 'Narrative Dynamics in Latin Literature'

The Tübingen Working Group Narrative Dynamics in Latin Literature has a research focus on narratology with special reference to Classical and Late Antique Latin texts. It looks both to the theory of narratology and to the application of narratological models to the analysis of ancient texts, in the form of commentaries and literary studies. Narratology is understood in a broad sense as applicable to a range of fictional and factual genres from Augustan and imperial epic poetry to historiography, epistolography, and elegiac and lyric poetry. Current research projects include methodological studies employing both classical and structuralist approaches to narratology, as well as those inspired by sociology, communication theory, performativity and digital humanities. The Working Group aims to serve as a platform for discussion and to contribute to interdisciplinary and international research in the area of diachronic narratology, within the wider field of cultural and literary studies.



Prof. Dr. Robert Kirstein

Philologisches Seminar
Wilhelmstraße 36
D-72074 Tübingen


Current Events

*** New schedules will be possible due to the coronavirus crisis ***

 15.-16 April 2021: Second Tübingen-Durham-Workshop on Latin Text Collections ('LTC-Project'). Programme

 22.-24. April 2021: 'Ambiguity and Narratology'. An Interdisciplinary and Diachronic Workshop. Programme

 6. May 2021: Tandem Talk & Discussion by Prof. Dr. Gareth Williams (Columbia University, NY) and Simon Grund (University of Tübingen): A 'State of in Between' - Strategic Ambituity in Ovid' Tristia.  Via Zoom

 Fall 2021: Third Tübingen-Durham-Workshop on Latin Text Collections ('LTC-Project') Link

 8.-11. Sept. 2021, due to the COVID pandemic rescheduled to 4.-7. May 2022: Colloquium Rauricum on 'Recht als Erzählung' in Cooperation with Prof. Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner (Department of Ancient History Tübingen). Click here for the preliminary programme.


 January 2021

Recent publications 

R. Kirstein: Half Heroes? Ambiguity in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in:  M. Vöhler, T. Fuhrer, S. Frangoulidis (Edd.): Strategies of Ambiguity in Ancient Lite­ra­ture (Trends in Classics Suppl. Vol. 114), Berlin 2021: De Gruyter, 157-173.

S. Grund: Gleichgewicht als Ideal – Die Idee der Gütergemeinschaft in Thomas Morus’ Utopia und ihre ethischen und anthropologischen Implikationen, in: L. Müsel, M. Röck (Edd.): (Dis-)Balance: Ökonomisierte Welten. Frankfurt a.M. 2021: Peter Lang.

R. Kirstein: Narratology and Latin Historiography: Suetonius’ Vita Augusti, in: Scienze dell’Antichità 2/26: Racconto nei testi, racconto nelle immagini. La narratologia come approccio alla letteratura e all'arte antiche Atti della Giornata di Studi tenutasi presso il Museo dell’Arte Classica (Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità) il 18 maggio 2018, a seguito della pubblicazione di Irene J. F. de Jong, I classici e la narratologia. Guida alla lettura degli autori greci e latini, Rome 2020: Edi­zioni Quasar, 115-127.

A. Abele: Ut fidem dictis adhibeant. ‚Distanz‘ und ‚Fokalisation‘ in der ‚Mantelteilung‘ des Heiligen Martin (zu Sulp. Sev. Mart. 2–3), in: Mnemosyne 73/4 (2020), 633-658.

R. Kirstein/A. Abele/H.-P. Nill: Narratology and Classical Epic, in: C. Reitz, S. Finkmann (Edd.): Structures of Epic Poetry, Berlin 2019: De Gruyter, Vol. 1, Part 1, 99-113.


 November 2020

Andreas Abele received a three-year DFG research grant for his project 'Reading Symmachus' Letter Collection by the Book. Literarästhetische, narratologische und historische Studien zur Briefsammlung des Symmachus'


 November 2019

Upcoming International and Interdisciplinary Conference: Narratology and Postmodernity (Space, Gender, Identity, Fictionality)


 June 2019

Without Order or Narrative? Reading Latin Text Collections from Late Roman Republic to the Early Middle Ages ('LTC project')

A Tübingen-Durham Cooperation

On our new cooperation project with the Department of Classics and Ancient History of the University of Durham on Latin text collections click here.


 August 2018
Hans-Peter Nill's PhD Thesis 'Gewalt und Unmaking in Lucans Bellum Civile. Textanalysen aus narratologischer, wirkungsästhetischer und gewaltsoziologischer Perspektive' (Brill) has been published. View the Flyer

Narratological Bibliography for Classics (NarrBibClass)

The Narratological Bibliography for Classics (NarrBiBClass) is based on Zotero and contains analyses and contributions dealing with classical texts from a narratological perspective in a broader sense. Link

Brill’s Narratological Commentaries To Ancient Texts

Edited by Irene J.F. de Jong, University of Amsterdam, and Robert Kirstein, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

Brill’s Narratological Commentaries To Ancient Texts aims at publishing commentaries to both well-known narrative texts from Greek and Latin literature and texts for which hardly any commentary is available yet, such as the novels or late epics. It also welcomes commentaries on Byzantine narrative texts, medieval texts in Latin, and books from the Hebrew Bible and early Christian texts, including the New Testament.


Past Activities

2020, Jan 30-Feb 1: First Tübingen-Durham-Workshop on Latin Text Collections ('LTC-Project')

2019, May 24: The Working Group presents its activities at 'Tübinger Fenster für Forschung' (TÜFFF), Hörsaalzentrum der Naturwissenschaften, Auf der Morgenstelle, Tübingen, 15-22 p.m.

2018, Fall Semester: Lecture Series (Studium Generale): "Räumliche Intelligenz. Kulturtechniken der Orientierung im Wandel“, an Interdisciplinary Cooperation between Cultural and Literary Studies, Social Studies and Life Sciences, organized by Prof. Dr. Kurt Franz (Department of Oriental and Islamic Studies), Robert Kirstein (Classics Department), and Prof. Ellen Widder (Department of History).

2018, October 4-6th: Ut fidem dictis adhibeant. Faith and Credibility in (Auto)biographies from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages, Interdisciplinary Workshop (organized by Andreas Abele, Kamil Choda, and Maurits de Leeuw): Programme

2018, July 5-7th: Epistula narrans. Narrative Modelling in Latin Epistolography, International Graduate and Early Career Conference (organized by Aurelia Gumz and Andreas Abele): Programme

2017, December 15th: Towards a Digital Narratology of Space. Interdisciplinary Workshop in Cooperation with the Digital Humanities at the University of Stuttgart. You find the programme here.

Cadmus and the Cow: A Digital Narratology of Space in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. By Viehhauser G., Kirstein R., Barth F., Pairamidis A. (Springer: Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography)

2017, May 29th: Conference on Narratology and Didactics, see the project organised by Wolfgang Polleichtner

2017, February 10th: Lecture by Prof. Dr. Irene de Jong (Amsterdam): Themes and Techniques: The Semantisation of Narratology