Embedded Narratives in the Literatures of the Medieval North – CFP

Katowice, Poland & online, 8-9 April 2022.

Narrative analysis often takes either the narrative content or the manner in which this content is presented as its starting point. Focusing on the manner, Gérard Genette has identified three main fields of analysis:

  • the temporal relationship between the story and the narrative with regard to their order, duration, and frequency,
  • the regulation of narrative information, covering the degree of mimeti illusion and focalisation (‘Who perceives?’),
  • the questions related to the narrative instance (‘Who speaks?’), specifically different types of narrators and the narrative level from which the narrator speaks.

Inspired by the work of Genette and other scholars, the conference aims at examining narratives comprising different levels of narration, in which the character of a narrative becomes the narrator of a further, so-called embedded narrative, which is framed by the former. A prominent example of such a character is Norna-Gestr, whose account of his adventures with Sigurðr fáfnisbani entertains King Óláfr and his retainers in the younger redaction of Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta. Multi-level narrations invite discussions on aspects such as:

  • the relations between the frame narrative and the embedded narrative,
  • the involvement of the character-narrator in the embedded narrative and the implications this has for the frame narrative,
  • the sources of the narratives embedded and their relations to these,
  • the scope with which this device is employed (in different genres) in the literatures of the medieval north.

We are pleased to announce that the keynote lecture will be presented by Alison Finlay (Birkbeck College, University of London).

We welcome researchers to submit their proposals (ca. 250 words) for a 20-minute paper to the organisers no later than 15 November 2021. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 3 January 2022. The conference fee is 400 PLN and includes coffee breaks and conference materials. Details concerning registration will be delivered together with the notification of acceptance.

The conference is organised by the Centre for Nordic and Old English Studies at the University of Silesia and the Institute of German Studies at Jagiellonian University. The venue of the conference will be the University of Silesia in Katowice. Should the pandemic situation not allow for a physical meeting, the conference will be held online.