CfP: "Transgression and Subversion: Gender in the Picaresque"
Is the pícaro a “real man”? What position does he hold (or claim) in the gender hierarchy of his fictional social context? In terms of a gendered subject, the pícaro has hardly been analyzed so far. In most of the studies on gender aspects in the picaresque novel, the focus lays on female protagonists such as Úbeda’s Pícara Justina or Grimmelshausen’s Courasche in order to examine the feminine counterpart to the pícaro, or the female characters in general.
In most cases, the picaresque universe is simply regarded as “overwhelmingly patriarchal”. Surprisingly enough, this observation has not yet required further critical consideration. The androcentric view, which, according to Bourdieu does not need to legitimize itself, apparently also determines canonical studies on the picaresque. This may explain why the gender focus is merely set on female characters, because their very femaleness apparently constitutes a deviation from the androcentric norms of the social order in the picaresque narrative. In this context, the “female picaresque”, which is often treated as a separate subgenre, has sparked feminist and gender-based discussions. Canonical novels with male protagonists, on the other hand, have not been investigated in a comparable manner. This is surprising especially for the early Spanish context, as some of the most influential ancestors of the early pícaro, are female figures, such as Celestina or La lozana andaluza. Although the pícaro has been well recognized as a transgressive model, the transgressive effect of this ‘female genealogy’ on the male self of the pícaro has not been extensively examined so far. A comprehensive approach to the pícaro’s transgressive character, combining the categories of class, generation, topography and gender, is still lacking.
Closely related to the transgressive qualities of the picaresque are the subversive aspects which are inherent in the genre. Speaking of the picaresque universe as a carnivalesque “mundus inversus”, the subversiveness of the narration is already noticeable. As a consequence of the inversion of social hierarchies and moral codes the subversion of official humanist values is pushed ahead. The pícaro (and the pícara) are figures both of transgression AND subversion and can therefore be described as queer in a social sense. In what way, then, is the representation of gendered patterns in the picaresque also affected by this inversive and subversive mode of narration?
The following questions will be addressed in the conference:
1. How do picaresque novels interact with their social contexts with regard to gender constructions and relations? What is the role of intertextuality in the construction of masculinity or femininity?
2. To what extent are the masculinity and femininity constructs influenced by the special aesthetics of the picaresque genre, which emphasises its own fictionality, for instance via the unreliable narrator? Can we understand the pícaro or the pícara as textual effects that show themselves in their artificial character?
3. Are pícaros really masculine and pícaras really feminine? Or does the picaresque character always tend to be queer?
4. In how far does the picaresque genre as a stage for an inverted world also play with gendered norms? In what way do the carnivalesque and parodic tendencies generate gender constructions and gender relations?
5. What different manners of representing sexuality are typical of the Spanish novela picaresca and the German Schelmenroman?
Die Tagungssprache ist Englisch. Für die Vorträge ist ein Zeitfenster von 45 Min. (30 Min. Vortrag + 15 Min. Diskussion) vorgesehen.
Bitte reichen Sie Ihre Abstracts bis zum 31. März ein. Nach Begutachtung werden im Fall der Annahme Übernachtungs- und Reisekosten erstattet. Senden Sie Ihre Abstracs an: Gregor Schuhen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bislang bestätigte Teilnehmer sind:
Anne J. Cruz (Miami)
Matthias Bauer (Flensburg)
Rudolf Velten (Siegen)
Hanno Ehrlicher (Augsburg)
Ofer Nordheimer Nur (Tel Aviv)
Maren Lickhardt (Greifswald)
Jens Elze (Göttingen)
Gregor Schuhen (Siegen)
Hans-Joachim Jakob (Siegen)