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Fourth NEWW November meeting


As a follow-up of previous NEWW conferences about female narration (Bochum, May 2009), and more specifically about narrative techniques used by 19th-century German female authors (Nancy, June 2010), we intended to organize - as the fourth NEWW November meeting - a workshop where female narration and irony could be discussed and compared to the irony as used by male narrators.

This seemed to be an important item for our research. Vera Nünning, in her introduction to the Bochum conference, had shown which kinds of strategies English women novelists used when it came to describing female experience. In Nancy, different contributors illustrated these for German novelists (such as Louise von François). Irony was clearly one of those strategies.

An important aspect is also that this "female irony" has not always been understood as such by contemporary readers (cf. for instance the incipit of Mme Benoist's novel Célianne and its rewritings by contemporary journalists; Jane Austen as translated in French by Mme de Montolieu).

We considered that, however difficult to realize, we needed means to determine how to recognize supposed irony as used by narrative instances. Stéfan Sinclair suggested to us that electronic tools might be helpful both for tracing irony in narrative texts, and for studying the role irony played (plays) in literary communication. This was what we intended to discuss during this fourth November meeting.

PhD-students of Huizinga Institute were invited to send proposals... We planned to ask them to provide the organizers with a number of relevant (potentially ironic) fragments of texts, to have them treated by the computer, and further discussed in order to possibly prepare a collective presentation in an international conference.

Yet there were no PhD-students working on irony, or interested...

Therefore, the workshop will not be held in the form planned bij Huizinga Institute and NEWW. We will now, with some of the NEWW /COST members concerned, try to engage in collaboration otherwise: putting a number of supposedly "ironic" texts together, discuss them, have them treated, and continue discussions. The ways of proceeding and possible output will be discussed on 3 December with Madeleine Jeay, Daniel Maher, Astrid Kulsdom, Suzan van Dijk, as well as all other colleagues interested who are able to be in The Hague (please take contact, and be aware of the impossibility of our reimbursing any travelling).

Colleagues announcing participation in this "female irony" project:

Colleagues or PhDs interested in examining the function of irony in narrative texts and willing to discuss (potentially ironic) fragments of texts, can start participating: select (for "female" works registered in the database) passages you consider as ironic, copy them in the "Provisional Notes" field, specify something like: {to be considered as ironic. svd} (as for Célianne). All of us will be able to find the passages. For texts in other languages than English or French, please add a translation allowing to appreciate the irony....

SvD, 25 November 2010

  • Conferences > NEWW November meetings > 2010

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