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IPP KNL | Dr. Christine Schwanecke (Uni Graz): "Historicizing Generic Norms and Exploring the Performative Power of Narrative in Drama: Epic Structures in Shakespeare’s Pericles (1619)"

IPP 20th Anniversary Keynote Lecture Series


Apr 20, 2022 from 02:00 to 04:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)


GCSC (MFR) & Online

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In his historical sketch of modern genre theory, David Duff (2000) discusses the implicit ideologies of genre criticism, which seems, depending on respective schools and times, to display distinct forms of generic preferences (generic homogeneity). These preferences have often been communicated as 'norms' and 'laws' in the history of genre criticism.

In its first part, the keynote seeks to explore, with the help of Jacques Derrida's "The Law of Genre," the implicit power mechanisms of critical preference and the hidden ideologies of modern genre history, which, with the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century, has often attributed narrativity and the existence of diegetic elements exclusively to the novel. This has, until this very day, led to anachronisms in literary history, the misrepresentation of historical aesthetics, and a marginalization of genres and works that did not match the hegemonic critical taste. A case in point is Shakespeare's Pericles, a narrative play, which was – despite its generic hybridity, or, maybe even because of it – extremely popular with early modern audiences, but has come to be artistically and critically neglected because of its perceived quality of being 'undramatic.'


In the second part, I will focus on the above Romance and illustrate to what extent the politics of modern critical norms have failed to capture or have misrepresented the actual generic conventions of their historical study objects. I will analyse and interpret Pericles' rich variety of epic structures and delineate their potential functions, both intratextual and cultural. I will assess their dynamics and performative power – all of which would simply go unnoticed and unexplored if it was solely for traditional genre theory and not for the persistent efforts of a generically broad-minded, historically conscious literary criticism of IPP and GCSC provenience.


// Prof. Dr. Christine Schwanecke is a Professor of English Literature and Culture at Graz University. She studied English, German, and History in Heidelberg and London and earned her PhD from the University of Heidelberg in 2012 with a thesis on intermedial storytelling (literature and photography). 

Please, register here for Prof. Dr. Christine Schwanecke's Keynote Lecture (in person or online)