Philologisches Seminar

Epistula narrans. Narrative Modelling in Latin Epistolography

International Graduate and Early Career Conference

July 5-7, 2018



The workshop proceeds from the assumption that narratives are not limited to literature, but that they are also of fundamental importance in everyday conversation. Storytelling is an anthropological constant across cultural and national borders. People use stories to master the complexity of the world and make sense of it. However, the world evoked by narratives is always a construction of reality. In terms of their specific temporal and causal order, narratives create, modify and change realities. On this account, they are of particular relevance in creating identities and negotiating values.

Literary studies are increasingly concerned with interdisciplinary and transgeneric narratological issues. However, letters and Latin epistolography in particular have not yet benefited sufficiently from this development. With regard to the ubiquity of narratives this is all the more astonishing since letters are an essential pre-modern medium of communication.

The conference aims to shed light on storytelling in Latin epistolography from a narratological perspective. It seeks to explore forms and functions of narratives in letters especially with regard to their potential for modelling and re-modelling realities (autobiographical, literary, and sociocultural).

Keynote Speakers