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Narrative Fiction in Early Modern Europe

A Comparative Study of Genre Classifications

In: Quaerendo
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  • 1 Senior lecturer and “Privatdocent”, Free University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • | 2 Assistant Professor in Early Modern Polish Literature, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
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Abstract

The article presents a corpus of European fictional narratives, which were continuously printed in at least six European languages from the beginning of printing until the end of the eighteenth century. It analyses the denominations of the works in European literary histories in a comparative way in order to show the impact of the different national traditions in literary history, and provides a survey of the contemporary terms for the works used in European vernaculars. In early modern Europe there was an awareness of the congruence of these narratives and a similar choice of genre attributions in different European vernaculars whereas, as a consequence of the development of nationalism and national studies, the denomination of the genre and their studies has become much more tattered. We therefore propose to use the term ‘narrative fiction’ for the genre and the term ‘fictional narrative’ for the works themselves.

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