The graduate students of Stanford University's Department of German Studies invite proposals addressing theatricality in German prose. Theatricality has become a prominent concept over the last decade in a variety of fields: anthropology, performance theory, semiotics, and gender-theory. We are interested in the encounter of stage and page. Theatricality in prose necessitates a dispersion of the verbal, visual and corporeal unity which is inherent in performance. What precisely can be understood as ‘theatrical’ in prose writing? Does theatricality draw attention to itself as a mode of representation? What influence does theatre have as a performance praxis on the poetics of the novel or novella?
Through the invention of photography and motion picture, our world has transformed into an increasingly visual society. How do the rise of the visual and graphic elements of language in contemporary culture affect prose? And if the ever-increasing reliance on visual stimuli has in turn made German prose of the 20th century more visual, how is this related to the theatricality of prose?
The reversal of this process is of course the adaptation of novels and other forms of prose to more visual modes, such as theatre, cinema etc. What makes certain prose more ‘visually adaptable’? And what are the means employed by directors in order to excavate the theatricality from such prose and transform it into a visual medium?
In light of such adaptations, one also has to consider the fact that many authors have written plays as well as prose. However, literary history usually treats authors either as novelists or as playwrights. Is there a relationship between the message an author wants to convey or the problem he/she tackles with and the preference of one genre? And how do the prose writings of such a writer compare to his/her dramatic work under the aspect of theatricality?
Keynote Address: Dr. Martin Puchner, Columbia University
Second Speaker: Dr. Charitini Douvaldzi, Stanford University
The Stanford Graduate Students in German Studies invite recent graduates and graduate students of all fields to send abstracts and participate in the conference. Besides papers on particular German topics, we also encourage contributions focusing on theoretical issues related to theatricality. Since we hope to open the discussion for students and scholars of other fields, the language of the conference will be English. We will ask participants to send us their paper in advance in order to make them available for all participants. Thereby we hope to enhance the discussion and create a productive working atmosphere.
Possible paper topics could include, but are not limited to:
- Gesture in Prose
- Crossing Genre: Extended Dialogue in the Novel
- Telling and Showing
- The Embellished I – Staging of the Self in Autobiographies
- Pop Literature and Visual Culture
- Film Scripts
- Authorial Masks
- Interiority as Theatricality’s Antipode
- Theatricality in Prose Adaptations
- The Berliner Volksbühne and its Reliance on Dostoyevsky’s Prose
- Novella and Theatre
- The Prose of the World and Theatrical Lies
- Visual Effects in Prose
Abstracts for papers should be no longer than two pages and sent by January 15, 2006 to:
Dept. of German Studies
Attn: Ian Morgan Re: Conference
Bldg. 260, Pigott Hall, Rm. 211
Stanford, CA 94305-2030
(if a street address is necessary, use 260 Lasuen Mall)
or via E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send any questions to Ian Morgan at the same address.
This information can also be found at http://www.stanford.edu/dept/german/index.html
For more information on Dr. Puchner, please go to
For more information on Dr. Douvaldzi, please go to
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