Colloquium by Wolf Schmidt, University of Hamburg: Dostoevsky’s Attempt at an Aesthetic Proof of God’s Existence
Wolf Schmid, University of Hamburg
‘Eventfulness: a New Field of Narratology’
April 24, 2013: 5.15pm
Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216
Eventfulness is an important narrative phenomenon and a major narratological tool applicable, in culture-specific and historically shifting circumstances, to all media representing changes of state. While it is not an objective category that can be generically applied to representations, it is at least in some of its parameters a hermeneutic, subject-dependent and context-sensitive category linked to interpretative processes. Due to its focus on unpredictability, persistence, irreversibility, and tellability, among other factors, the category of Eventfulness is particularly important when it comes to dealing with problems of cultural typology and the history of literature and thought, as can be traced from Hagiographic Old Russian Literature, through the seventeenth and eighteenth century, and into realism and post-realism. In particular, from 1800 onward, the event was increasingly modeled as a change in the internal mental state of a character. While the realist heroes of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, for example, typically have the capacity to undergo fundamental transformations and transcend the boundaries of morality and the logic of personality, Chekhov’s post-realist narratives interrogate the tellability of the intention of change and its prevention from being realized.
WOLF SCHMID has taught in Munich, Utrecht, and Oldenburg before his appointment to Full Professorship at the University of Hamburg in 1978. He has also taught as a Visiting Professor in Australia, Canada, Denmark, and the People's Republic of China. He is the author of the monographs Der Textaufbau in den Erzählungen Dostoevskijs, Der ästhetische
Inhalt: Zur semantischen Funktion poetischer Verfahren, and Ornamentales Erzählen in der russischen Moderne. Čechov – Babel' – Zamjatin (1992), Proza kak poeziia. Pushkin – Dostoevskii – Chechov – avangard. His work Puškins Prosa in poetischer Lektüre. Die Erzählungen Belkins has appeared in Russian and Serbian, and his book Narratology: An Introduction in German, Russian, and English. In 2008, Schmid founded the European Narratology Network. He is an organizer and co-editor of the series Narratologia: Contributions to Narrative Theory, editor of the series Slavische Literaturen: Texte und Abhandlungen, a member of the editorial board of the international scholarly journals Russian Literature and Die Welt der Slaven, and a member of the Advisory
Board of the U.S. journal Pushkin Review.