Sie sind hier: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2023/24 Prof. Dr. Eva von Contzen

Prof. Dr. Eva von Contzen

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Englische Literatur

Internal Junior Fellow (ERC Fellowship)
April 2017 - Dezember 2023

Raum 01 029
Tel. +49 (0)761 203 97336
Fax +49 (0)761 203 97451


Eva von Contzen is Professor of English literature at the University of Freiburg and the principal investigator of the ERC-funded project “Lists in Literature and Culture”. She studied English Literature and Classics at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, and wrote her PhD thesis on medieval saints’ legends and their narrative art. In parallel to writing her dissertation, she was part of a project (funded by the German Research Foundation) that provided a translation, critical edition, and commentary on Marco Girolamo Vida’s neo-Latin epic poem Christiad at the Classics department at Ruhr-University Bochum. She has recently published The Scottish Legendary: Towards a Poetics of Hagiographic Narration (Manchester 2016) and pursues her interest in narrative and medieval literature in the interdisciplinary network “Medieval Narratology”. Her research interests include narrative theory, in particular its diachronic and historical dimension, epic catalogues, the reception of classical literature in contemporary literature and culture, and cognitive literary studies. Also, she is a member (Antragstellerin) of the research training group Factual and fictional narration (GRK Faktuales and fiktionales Erzählen) at the University of Freiburg. Currently, her main project is devoted to lists and enumerations in literary texts from antiquity to postmodernism.

A full list of publications and CV can be found on the English Seminar’s webpage:


Publikationen (Auswahl)

Monographs and Edited Works

  • The Scottish Legendary. Towards a Poetics of Hagiographic Narration. Manchester University Press, 2016.
  • Narratologie und mittelalterliches Erzählen. Autor, Erzähler, Perspektive, Zeit und Raum. Berlin: de Gryuter, 2018. (co-edited with Florian Kragl)
  • Sanctity as Literature in Medieval Britain. Manchester University Press, 2015. (co-edited with Anke Bernau)
  • Marco Girolamo Vida, Christias. Bd. 1: Einleitung, Edition und Übersetzung, Bd. 2: Kommentar. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag: Trier, 2013. (co-edited with Reinhold F. Glei, Wolfgang Polleichtner, and Michael Schulze Roberg)
  • Special issue in Style 50.3 (2016) on “Lists in Literature from the Middle Ages to Postmodernism” (guest editor)
  • Special issue in Narrative 23.2 (2015) on “Social Minds in Factual and Fictional Narration” (co-edited with Max Alders)
  • Special issue in Medievalia et Humanistica 41 (2015) on “Scottish Identity” (co-edited with Luuk Houwen)


Articles (selection)

  • “Experience, Affect, and Literary Lists.” Partial Answers 16.2 (2018): 315-27.
  • “Wer bin ‘Ich’ und wenn ja, wie viele? Narrative Inszenierungen des Ichs in England und Schottland.” Von sich selbst erzählen: Historische Dimensionen des Ich-Erzählens. Eds. Sonja Glauch and Katharina Philipowski. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2018. 63-97.
  • “Narrative and Experience in Medieval Literature: Author, Narrator, and Character Revisited.” Narratologie und mittelalterliches Erzählen. Autor, Erzähler, Perspektive, Zeit und Raum. Eds. Eva von Contzen and Florian Kragl. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2018. 61-80.
  • “Diachrone Narratologie und historische Erzählforschung. Eine Bestandsaufnahme und ein Plädoyer.” [‘Diachronic Narratologe and Historical Narrative Theory. Status quo and a Plea’] Beiträge zur mediävistischen Erzählforschung 1 (2018): 18-38.
  • “‘Both Close and Distant’: Experiments of Form and the Medieval in Contemporary Literature.” Frontiers of Narrative 3.2 (2017): 289-303.
  • “Die Affordanzen der Liste.” [‘The Affordances of the List’] Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik3 (2017): 317-26.
  • “Listen im Transferprozess: Zur englischen und deutschen Rabelais-Übersetzung.” [‘Lists in Transition: On the English and German Translation of Rabelais’] Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch 58 (2017): 193-220.
  • “Grenzfälle des Erzählens: Die Liste als einfache Form.” [‘On the Margins of Narrative: The List as Simple Form’]  Komplexität und Einfachheit. Villa Vigoni-Symposion 2015. Ed. Albrecht Koschorke. Stuttgart 2017. 221-39.
  • “Unnatural Narratology and Premodern Narratives: Historicizing a Form.” Journal of Literary Semantics 146 (2017): 1-23.
  • “The Limits of Narration: Lists and Literary History.” Style 50.3 (2016): 241-60.
  • “Why Medieval Literature Does Not Need the Concept of Social Minds: Exemplarity and Collective Experience.” Narrative 23.2 (2015, Special Issue “Social Minds in Factual and Fictional Narration”): 140-53.
  • “Why We Need a Medieval Narratology: A Manifesto.” Diegesis: Interdisciplinary E-Journal for Narrative Research 3.2 (2014): 1-21.


ERC Starting Grant:
Lists in Literature and Culture: Towards a Listology (LISTLIT)

Lists and list-making frequently feature in everyday life. Their uses and functions in literary texts, however, have not received much attention, even though catalogues and enumerations have always been used in literature, ranging from the Greek and Roman epics, medieval wisdom poetry, and Renaissance prose treatises to Dickensian cataloguing and postmodern novels. While previous approaches to lists in literature tended to focus on structural questions and sought to categorise the various types of enumerations and lists on the basis of both their form and content, I start from a different angle in order to do justice to the close interrelationship between the textual form and the cultural and cognitive grounding of lists. I propose a diachronic and interdisciplinary approach that explores the functions, purposes, and effects of lists in literature as the artful expression of experientiality. Drawing on a range of selected examples from Greek and Latin epics, medieval and Renaissance literature to postmodern novels, I am going to combine cognitive linguistic, narratological, cultural and anthropological theories. I suggest that lists can be understood as a narrative strategy the main factor of which is not its system of categorization but the attitude towards this system. This attitude may be reflected by experiential parameters so that lists could be read in terms of the affective responses they seek to stimulate, such as 'the list as desire', 'the list as fear', and 'the list as power'.