IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 820: Following, Mixing, and Breaking Rules in Narrative

Tuesday 10 July 2012, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Roland Scheel, Institut für Skandinavistik, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
Paper 820-aA Health Warning for Saga Heroes: Narrative Rules to Follow (or Not) in a Mixed-Genre Text
(Language: English)
Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, Queen's College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Pagan Religions
Paper 820-bBreaking the Rules of Narration: Babur and Maximilian I as Authors of (Auto)biograpical Texts
(Language: English)
Kristina Rzehak, Exzellenzcluster 'Religion & Politik', Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Rhetoric

Paper -a:
This paper examines the unorthodox literary effects created by mixed-genre sagas, where a protagonist’s story must follow the narrative rules of multiple genres. I take the grisly example of Gestr from Bárðar saga Snæfellsás, who begins as a typical conversion-hero, feted and baptised at the Norwegian court. Yet Bárðar saga‘s mixed-genre conventions mean that his story cannot follow the narrative paths common to other such heroes, for Gestr’s father is the trollish land-spirit Bárðr Snæfellsás. Thus, the conclusion of this narrative set-piece is subverted by the conventions of another —the ‘pagan-contact þáttr‘ — where the supernatural pagan convert must perish upon his baptism.

Paper -b:
Narratives follow certain rules – but do these rules apply to rulers, too? The composition of the four autobiographical and biographical texts written and commissioned by the Timurid Padishah Babur (Baburnama) and the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (Theuerdank, Weißkunig and Freydal) is characterized by a striking regularity. This paper analyses the structural aspects of time, space and point of view and describes their functions inside and outside the aforementioned texts. Furthermore, it will be shown how the rulers direct the readers’ expectations by using steady patterns. The conclusion demonstrates why Babur and Maximilian sometimes ‘break the rules of narration’.