Recent years have seen a boom in narratological studies. Not only has the application of narratology been extended to include other genres such as drama and media such as pictures and even music, but a whole new range of narratologies is also emerging. On the one hand, cultural studies, feminism and other disciplines have developed their own narratologies, while on the other, scholars are turning to subjects outside the humanities, e. g. cognitive science, to provide narratology with a new foundation.

Against the backdrop of these developments, we would like to address the relation of narratology to the interpretation of ancient texts. De Jong’s groundbreaking studies have firmly established narratological categories as useful tools in Classics. In focusing on the content of the form, this conference aims to sound out where and how far these tools can lead us. In what ways can the analysis of narrative structures go beyond mere technical classification and contribute to our understanding of ancient texts? Is it possible, for example, to read the temporal structures of historians’ works as an expression of their underlying idea of history? Or, can the examination of focalization and the narrator’s voice stimulate gender-sensitive approaches?

A first panel will be devoted to ancient predecessors of narratology. This panel will explore different approaches to narrative forms in ancient criticism ranging from Aristotle to the scholiasts. Main points of departure will be: what aspects of narrative were ancient critics interested in? What kind of classifications did they use? Did they link narrative form to content?
A second panel will examine the relation of narratology to other disciplines and methods from a theoretical perspective. This panel will focus on such questions as: in what way can narratology enrich cultural history? Are narratological categories useful for reader-response approaches? Can studies in deixis and narratology engage in a fruitful dialogue?

Another three panels will each focus on a certain genre of ancient literature and will present studies that rely on narratological analysis for the interpretation of particular texts. The characteristics of different genres deserve particular attention in as much as for example the form of drama raises different questions than the form of the novel. Speakers are encouraged to explore new perspectives by linking the results of narratological analysis to a variety of interpretive approaches.