History and Fiction from Vergil to Carlyle March 9-11 2012 Claremont McKenna College
THE RULES OF THE WRITING GAME: HISTORY AND FICTION FROM VERGIL THROUGH GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH AND THE ARTHURIAN VULGATE CYCLE, TO GIBBON AND CARLYLE
Moderator: Nancy Partner, McGill University
We take this as our premise for this session: "Both historiography and fiction are genres of writing, not bundles of fact or nonfact in verbal shape. In either case, then, it all boils down to the rules of the writing game."
History has always been a literary form, whatever other functions it fulfills, and has shared common ground with fictional narrative genres such as epic, romance and tragedy, most evidently in earlier ages. Even under the strict requirements of professional practice, narrative remains central to historical writing, and history and fiction share concerns with character, motive, conflict, and the relation of particular event to expanded realms of meaning. The writer/reader contract operates within every literary culture to signal how texts are produced and how they are to be received, but we are now often hard pressed to understand the implicit codes for history and fiction in premodern societies. We seek papers dealing with any aspect of the history/fiction relationship, from any literary or historical period, and especially those foregrounding theory and "the rules of the writing game."
Opening remarks from Nancy Partner: "Fiction and History: Patrolling the Borders"
All participants – we hope for fifteen to twenty – will be from the call for papers. Please send proposals and abstracts (300 words) by December 15 to Professor Nancy Partner, History and Classical Studies Leacock, Rm 635, Department of History, 855 Sherbrooke, West Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2T7 (or firstname.lastname@example.org) and Professor John Burt, Department of English MS023, Brandeis University, Waltham MA 02454 (or email@example.com).