‘The Erotics of Narrative’

A KYKNOS Conference
KYKNOS is a Centre for Research on Ancient Narrative Literatures (www.kyknos.org.uk)

15-17 July 2009

At Gregynog (www.wales.ac.uk/gregynog/)


Desire, anticipation, pleasure, and satisfaction are all concepts which apply to hearing, reading, and giving narratives, as well as to love and sex. In some cases, horror, boredom, pain, and frustration are involved instead, or even as well. When a narrative concerns love and/or sex, then there is the possibility of dynamic interplay between the contents of the narrative and its narration, and between the provocations and reactions of narrators and their narratees.

This conference aims to explore the ways in which ideas and theories surrounding ancient narratives and erotic subject matter interrelate and affect each other. Avenues we envisage being interesting to explore include: How do narrators understand and treat love and sex, and what can this tell us about them and their narrative? What do narrators focus on or avoid, and how much of an impact does the (presence/age/gender etc. of the) narratee(s) have? How are the processes and rhythms of reading/listening related to sexual desire, pleasure, and so on? To what extent are questions of genre important for understanding the erotics of narrative? How do narrators use, and/or narratees understand, metaphors, similes, and ambiguous or multi-dimensional terminology and language in describing love and its effects, and what factors determine their usage? How do aspects such as guilt, shame, voyeurism, censorship, explicitness, knowing allusions, revelation, and concealment relate to and complicate narration? Can ideas of deviance, fetishism, compliance, force, teasing, and transaction be usefully applied to narrative? To what extent are activity and passivity important in narration? How do narratives reflect, question, and/or subvert sexual and erotic norms and theories?

This list is by no means exhaustive or prescriptive, and we shall be more than happy for contributors to interpret the topic in other ways. We anticipate that the terms ‘erotics’ and ‘narrative’ will be taken reasonably broadly, to reflect the potential for different methods and levels of interpretation and understanding.

Venue and Publication

This conference will take place at the University of Wales Conference Centre at Gregynog Hall, a historic and beautiful country-house in peaceful rural Wales. For information on Gregynog see www.wales.ac.uk/gregynog/. We aim to repeat the success of the 2007 KYKNOS conference ‘Lies and Metafiction in Ancient Narrative’, which was also held at Gregynog. The papers of the 2007 conference will be published in 2009 in an edited volume in the Ancient Narrative Supplementum series, and we aim to publish an edited volume based on this conference.

Confirmed speakers include:

Konstantin Doulamis, Steve Nimis, Stelios Panayotakis, Alison Sharrock, Tim Whitmarsh, Froma Zeitlin


Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words in length, and should be sent to the conference organisers: John Morgan (John.Morgan AT swansea.ac.uk), Mirjam Plantinga (m.plantinga AT lamp.ac.uk), and Ian Repath (i.repath AT swansea.ac.uk), by the 10th of December at the latest. We hope to be able to make decisions and inform all those who have submitted abstracts of those decisions within two weeks of the deadline.