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Geisteswissenschaftliches Kolloquium - Eva von Contzen (Freiburg): Of Cabbages and Kings: Approaching Lists in Literature

Wann 28.04.2014
von 13:15 bis 14:00
Wo FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminarraum
Kontakttelefon +49 (0)761 203-97362
Teilnehmer Universitätsoffen / Open to university members
Termin übernehmen vCal


From shopping lists to hit lists, in everyday life we are surrounded by lists in various forms and contexts. For centuries, lists have been used as a tool for organising human experience and knowledge. Thus it is small wonder that lists and enumerations also feature prominently in literature. Yet lists are often neglected as a truly literary element because they are practical and inherently non-literary – as one scholar puts it, “one does not read but only uses a list”. Whether as catalogue, chronicle, register, index, inventory, genealogy or lexicon, lists in literary texts create a pause because they bring the narrative flow to a halt and require the reader’s input in contextualising the listing structure. In this session I am going to introduce my project, which focuses on the functions of lists in narrative texts: Why are list structures employed in a narrative? How are they embedded in their narrative context? And how can we as readers make sense of them?


As part of my talk, I would like to discuss the practices of list-making more generally. Hence, in preparation for the meeting, I invite you to bring along a list: this could either be a list you have recently made or used yourself, such as a to-do list or a shopping list, or a list you have come across elsewhere, perhaps in your work or in another literary or non-literary context.

I am looking forward to the discussion and your thoughts on lists and listing!