The Ancient Novel in the Renaissance RSA 2017 Chicago

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Claire Sommers/The Graduate Center, CUNY
contact email: 

 Though many modern scholars place the invention of the novel in the 18th century, the genre arose much earlier. Early Modern works such as those by Sidney, Rabelais, and Cervantes may be classified as novels. However, the genre has its origins in the ancient Greek and Roman novels of the second and third centuries. While these works are often forgotten in the present day, they were translated during the Renaissance and were among the most widely read texts of the Early Modern period. Their popularity stemmed from their content and their structures, as they synthesized and examined several genres in a single prose work. As a result, echoes of the ancient novel are present in Renaissance romance, satire, poetry, and theatre. This panel will explore the influence of the ancient novel on Renaissance literature. Possible approaches include:


·      Renaissance adaptations of the ancient novel

·      Early Modern allusions to the ancient novel

·      Translations of the ancient novel

·      Commentaries and examinations of the ancient novel

·      The ancient novel and the creation of new Renaissance forms and genres

·      Satires of the ancient novel


Ultimately, this panel will demonstrate the many ways in which Renaissance writers directly engaged with the ancient novels, using them to reflect upon the Classics, to inspire their own work, to differentiate the Early Modern period from antiquity, and to create new literary forms. Please submit a 150 word abstract and a 300 word CV to Claire Sommers ( by May 31st.