User:Nico Zorn

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Passed M.A. exam 2008. Title of Magisterarbeit: Jasper Fforde's 'Thursday Next' (2001-2007). Intertextuality, Metafiction, Postmodernism

Currently researching about King Arthur in Early Modern England (1473-1800) and seeking employment as PhD student. (Researching on that very topic, obviously).

Dissertation Exposee - Introduction

King Arthur 1473-1800: Between History and Fiction

Even in the present day, King Arthur is part of popular myth building as well as scientific exploration, especially in connection with the European middle ages in which the Matière de Bretagne got widespread attention. There is no seamless connection from the high middle ages, the apex of the Arthurian Epic, to this day. The middle ages were afterwards shunned and had to be rediscovered by the Romantic Movement; Arthurian literature experiences a revival of its own at about 1800. This has been object of extensive research as has been the medieval treatment of Arthur. The period of transfer between 1473 (the beginning of print) and 1800 (the rediscovery of the Middle Ages), on the other hand, has been hardly researched. The Arthurian matter was not lost. It can be found in:

- “Histories” and “Chronicles” - Works of the humanities - Encyclopaedic and lexical entries - Operas, stage plays, and pageants - Verse epics and (topographical) poems - Romances - Chapbooks - Peripheral references of non-fictional texts.

The project sketched herein aims to bridge the gap in Arthurian research with the development of a complex view on the options that bodies of knowledge have to survive in different genres and – in the extreme case – in derogatory glosses. As a researcher, one will highlight some trends over others if one wants or not. How one does this, is interesting. At the same time, the big lines of negotiation are interesting. These negotiations took place within the process of re-invention of historical research from the 16th to the 19th century; by and by, historical research gained power as scientific battleground of societal controversies. A second process from the 17th to 19th century led to the establishment of fiction, literature in today’s meaning. The Arthurian matter changed from a historical to a literary body of knowledge in this time. The process is marked by doubts, re-evaluations and, ultimately, a massive valorisation within the newly established cultural history. The aim is to fathom out how the knowledge about Arthur survived. This will show that changes in genre were used to allow re-evaluations without losing the value of the transmitted knowledge. The negotiations will show options to keep relevant a body of knowledge that cannot survive as historical truth any more. At this point, the proposed work promises a re-thinking of the function of genres. This thesis focuses on the Arthurian matter in early modern Great Britain, a subject matter of national dimension in the midst of the process that shaped today’s meaning of nation. Thus, the nation was concerned about whatever remained to be discussed between historical research and literary science, in addition to requirements set upon it by politics. On the one hand, one wondered if King Arthur, the mystic hero, really existed; on the other hand, one created as national literature a fictional domain in which one could take renewed pride. The work planned has thus components of the history of a subject matter, of politics, and of a fascinating discursive history. It will also deal with the creation of the category of literature an the early modern book market.[...]