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>Subject:	CFP: The German Schauerroman and its International Contexts

Call for Papers:

Populäre Erscheinungen: Der deutsche Schauerroman um 1800 im internationalen
Kontext/ Popular Visions: The German Schauerroman and its International

The Gothic has long been recognised as an 
integral component of literary history
and cultural studies in anglo-american literary studies.  This is by no means
true of the German “Schauerroman”.  Although German and English forms of the
Gothic were the object of similarly intense critical debate from the late
1780s, the Schauerroman has almost completely disappeared from German literary
histories (and indeed many of these works have actually disappeared into the
vaults of German libraries).  From its inception, the Schauerroman was
criticised as populist and trivial, and this entirely negative portrayal has
continued, with few exceptions, until the present.  Despite critical
questioning of concepts of canonization since the 1960s, there has been almost
no considered Germanist or comparative study of the German Schauerroman on the
basis of modern literary, critical and cultural theory. The aim of this
conference, organised in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin, is not,
however, merely the “rehabilitation”, but a differentiated and critical
reconsideration of a forgotten literary mode on the basis of modern theoretical
concepts.  Rather than merely dismissing the Schauerroman as the anti-rational,
anti-modern and trivial pendant to the rational works of the Enlightenment and
Classicism, modern analytical methods such as Cultural Materialism, New
Historicism and Historical Anthropology can enable an important reconsideration
of the mode.  When viewed as a concomitant element of literary and social
processes of modernization in the course of the Enlightenment, existing on an
axis running parallel with and not opposite to the rationalization of social
and cultural modernity and providing a medium for the articulation for the
uncertainties and anxieties, the taboos and internal problems of modernity,
then one can move beyond the unsatisfactory and pejorative labelling of the
Schauerroman as trivial. The Gothic thus becomes a test-case for critical
approaches of dealing with popular cultural phenomena; indeed there is a case
to be made, that the Gothic be considered as the first modern literary
phenomenon of mass-culture.  Of importance are also the inter- and
intra-cultural transfer processes: the Gothic around 1800 is a thoroughly
international mode and develops as a conglomerate of translations, adaptations
and plagiarisms and is thus an important example of developing processes of
cultural transfer in modern Europe and beyond.
	Some (by no means all) of the central questions to be addressed are:
• Can the Schauerroman be defined more precisely: where does the term first
arise and how has it been defined (e.g. “Ritter-, Räuber- and Schauerromane” as
a problematic and confusing “moniker” that requires re-consideration)? Does
“Schauerroman” transcend historical borders as a meta-term or is it
historically limited to the period “around 1800”? Would a differentiation
between “Schauerroman” and “Schauerliteratur” (as parallel to Gothic novel and
Gothic Fiction) be constructive? How do these different dimensions of the term
interact? Is Schauerroman merely a particular form of the Fantastic or should
one differentiate these? Which works can be considered as Schauerromane and can
one reconstruct a “canon”?
• The “limits” of the Schauerroman: the mysterious events in the Schauerroman
are no longer considered wonderful or fairytale-like, rather they are coloured
by a disruption either in the text itself or at the level of reader-reception.
The question that arises is where the borders to a literature of the wonderful
can be drawn? Can the Schauerroman be better defined through these limits? What
role does the Schauerroman have in Enlightenment poetics (of the wonderful)?
Where and when (if at all) does the Schauerroman end? Can one differentiate the
Schauerroman from forms of the literary fantastic in and after Romanticism? Are
such differences actually useful or helpful?  The question of the relations
between the Schauerroman and “High-Literature” shall also need to be addressed.
• The Schauerroman “around 1800” is part of an intense process of cultural
transfer between England, France and Germany.  How should one deal with this
international nature of the mode? How important are these transfer processes
for the development of individual national forms such as the Schauerroman? What
translation and reception processes can one identify in these international
relations? Does this international nature have consequences for the definition
of “Schauerroman” as a literary historical term?
• What is the relationship of the Schauerroman to the canonical
“High-Literature” of the late Enlightenment prose-market, poetry and Weimar
Classicism (e.g. Goethe, Schiller, Bürger, Göttinger Hain)?
• The Schauerroman and the history of its own literary history: e.g. how does
the traditional categorization of the Schauerroman as trivial and populist
hinder its criticism and consideration within literary history? Can one
“rehabilitate” or better contextualise the Schauerroman through recourse to
modern theories of popular culture studies? What role can the consideration of
the literary market (publishing, readership, distribution of works etc.) play
in these critical methods? Does the important role of women as writers and
readers of this fiction influence such critical procedures?
• Is the term “Schauerroman” an indication of its contextualisation within
(late-) Enlightenment anthropology? Can theoretical concepts of the pleasure of
anxiety be explained as general trend within the 
(late-) Enlightenment? Are such
theories satisfactory for explanations and historical contextualisation of the
• The Gothic as part of Cultural Studies: is the identification of the
Schauerroman and the Gothic as a part of late-Enlightenment modernization and
modernity (as has become apparent in Anglo-American discussions) also relevant
for the German context in the light of theories of a delayed modernity?  Can
tropes such as the spectre and monstrosity be considered as metaphorical or
symbolic forms to articulate or problematize technological, scientific or
medial modernization (e.g. can one view ghost stories as a means of integrating
the phantasmagoria into society)? Is the historical novel of chivalry a
heterotopic space in which contemporary social and political issues can be
addressed? What themes and areas of modernity come into question here (e.g.
secret societies, religion etc.)?

Venue and dates of the conference:

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg from 30 Jan - 1 Feb 2009

>Please send your abstracts (in English or German) of no more than 250 words by
>15th February 2008 to:
>Barry Murnane					Andrew Cusack
>Institut für Germanstik 
>	               	Dept. of Germanic Studies
>Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg  		Trinity College Dublin
>06099 Halle (Saale)	                       		Dublin 2
>Germany		                               	Rep. of Ireland
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