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What is the Political Novel: Defining the Genre

Mittwoch, 27. September 2023

13:12 UHR


Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung

Pariser Straße 1
10719 Berlin
Tel.: 030 20 192 155



The first annual conference of the project The Cartography of the Political Novel in Europe (CAPONEU) discusses a variety of understandings of the political novel as a genre. It probes genre-theoretically and genre-historically informed approaches to defining the political novel and to paradigmatically illustrate this mutable genre with respect to specific novels that emerged in heterogeneous contexts.

The conference will provide us with an opportunity to critically examine and expand on the tentative definition of the political novel that we have formulated as a consortium: “The political novel in Europe is a set of procedures by which a novel is coded and decoded as political in a particular constellation of circumstances (epistemological, historical, literary, national, political and linguistic). It is hence identified through the complex process of reworking and becoming (reappropriation, repositioning and rearrangement of different sets of circumstances), resulting in the novel being recognised or even misread as political, a cross-genre more than a genre.” The conference will also address a variety of methodological ways in which the political novel can be analysed, involving two interrelated levels of literary and cultural enquiry: text-immanent analysis and contextual (text-extrinsic) analysis. To this end, the speakers will historicise the various forms of the political novel and flesh out the aesthetic, epistemic, political, ethical, moral, etc. norms that guide both their own and historical understandings of what (does not) count as a political novel.

In the run-up to the conference, we will publish a number of text portraits of the novels that will be discussed.






Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023

1.15 pm
Patrick Eiden-Offe, Eva Geulen (both ZfL), Zrinka Božić (University of Zagreb): Introduction

2.00 pm
Institutions of Genre
Chair: Patrick Eiden-Offe (ZfL)

Zrinka Božić (University of Zagreb): Rethinking politics of an unfinished project
Mark Devenney (University of Brighton): Thinking fictions of the political

4.00 pm
A Genre between Estrangement and Identification: Perceptions and Perspectives
Chair: Ivana Perica (ZfL)

Zvonimir Glavaš (University of Zagreb): “From Charlemagne to the title of the King”: Political novel between estrangement and recognition
Tomasz Mizerkiewicz (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań): Perceptions in the political novels

5.45 pm


Thursday, 28 Sep 2023

10.00 am
Identity, Social Stratification and the Politics of the Novel
Chair: Christoph Schaub (University of Vechta)

Polina Mackay (University of Nicosia): Intersectional politics in the ‘cancerland’: Reading Natasha Brown’s Assembly
Marina Protrka Štimec (University of Zagreb): “Perché i xe bestie?!” Politics, race and exclusion in Vladan Desnica’s Zimsko ljetovanje (The Winter Summer Holiday)

12.00 pm
The Political Novel and Political Readings of the Novel: Feminist Perspectives
Chair: Christoph Schaub (University of Vechta)

Mirela Dakić (University of Zagreb): What is novel in the political novel? The perspectives of contemporary feminist theory

2.00 pm
Flourishing Repoliticisations
Chair: Aurore Peyroles (University of Regensburg)

Magda Potok (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań): The repoliticisation of Spanish culture and the dispute over the political novel in the context of the economic crisis of 2008
Vedrana Veličković (University of Brighton): Brexit and the political novel/The politics of Brexlit

4.00 pm
Academic Fictions
Chair: Aurore Peyroles (University of Regensburg)

Rahul Putty (Manipal Academy of Higher Education): Not a book for burning: Reading the political in academic fiction

5.00 pm

8.00 pm
Moderator: Johanna-Charlotte Horst (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Literatur in Zeiten der Krise: Was kann der Roman leisten? (Literature in Times of Crisis: What Can the Novel Do?)
With Heike Geißler, Alhierd Bacharevič and Maryam Aras (in German)


Friday, 29 Sep 2023

10.00 am
Individual Subjects and/against Collectivity
Chair: Johanna-Charlotte Horst (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Andrea Milanko, Ana Tomljenović (University of Zagreb): The picaresque novel: Claiming the unclaimed existence
Paul Stewart (University of Nicosia): The individual and incorporation: Fundamental operations of the political in Beckett’s Molloy

12.00 pm
Blurred Boundaries
Chair: Kyung-Ho Cha (ZfL)

Shambhavi Prakash (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi): Reading Hubert Fichte’s literary works as political

2.00 pm
Eastern/Western Chronotopes
Chair: Kyung-Ho Cha (ZfL)

Rossie Artemis (University of Nicosia): Of people and chronotopes – Berlin in the early novels of Nabokov and Shklovsky
Błażej Warkocki (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań): Political parameters of East European queer novel: The case of Lubiewo (Lovetown) by Michał Witkowski

4.00 pm
The Political Novel in Europe: A Case Study
Chair: Kyung-Ho Cha (ZfL)

Nenad Ivić (University of Zagreb): Is Pierre Michon’s The Eleven a political novel?

5.00 pm