SFB 644 I-II: Experiment and the search for identity. Transformations of the ancient novel as cultural self-interpretation in Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Early Modernity (TP B 2)


Focus Area 1:
The fascination of asceticism and the legitimation of belief and authority in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and in medieval legendary literature (Werner Röcke, Julia Weitbrecht)


Focus Area 2:
Antique love between alienation and fascination. Differentiation and regimentation of emotions in the ancient novels of Early Modernity (Sebastian Möckel)


This sub-project is to investigate the construction and change in cultural patterns that are formulated in the adaptations of the ancient novel. This type of narrative is especially suited to adaptations across cultures, since in its narrative structure and construction of character it is characterised by making the boundaries of convictions and worldviews more fluid and putting them into dialogue.


This also impacts its transformations in Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Early Modernity. Adapting this narrative type offers the possibility of relating various frameworks of sense and cultural styles to each other and reflecting upon them. This experimental character of the adaptation of the ancient novel is based on its peculiar narrative pattern, which has remained largely identical. This basic pattern establishes an alternation of separations and reunions of a pair of lovers or a married couple along with their children, which only finds its end in a last »anagnorismos«. This coincides with new ordeals and new demonstrations of their love at each step.


In the adaptations of the ancient novel this structural pattern remains the same, and yet is bound up with new problems, new behavioural dispositions and new literary forms. This already holds of the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and takes us from the hagiographic and legendary literature of the Middle Ages to the renaissance of the ancient novel in the 16th century. Here questions of religious orientation, the legitimation of authority, the conflict between subjective desires and societal commitments, etc. are being negotiated.


Accordingly, across the »longue durée« of its reception, a series of various phases and diachronic moments can be distinguished, within which the dynamic narrative models of the novel can each be functionalised differently. In this it also serves different constructions of antiquity, from which we can infer back to the cultural self-interpretation in each case: if Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages see themselves within a certain continuity with antiquity, as of the 16th century it is seen as a foreign epoch and the ancient novel is also taken up as a re-discovered genre for new modes of narration.


Principal Investigators
Röcke, Werner Prof. Dr. phil. (Details) (Collaborative Research Centres)

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2005
End date: 12/2012

Research Areas
Anagnorisis, Antike, Antiker Roman, antiquity, Early Modern Community, Entgrenzung, Experiment, Frühe Neuzeit, Identität, Identity, Julia Weitbrecht, Legenden, Liebesroman, Medieval Literature, Mittelalter, Reiseroman, Sebastian Möckel, Transformation, Weltbild, Werner Röcke

Last updated on 2020-22-03 at 23:10