Before the formation of the ICNS, the Fictionality group was set up as a way to develop shared research interests across the boundaries of the period-based research schools in the English Department. The group had in common an interest in the question of fiction as a discursive and rhetorical category, rather than an ontological one, and the consequent sensitivity of that category to specific historical and cultural contexts. Members of the group were interested in the social and political implications of such a contingent pragmatics of fictive discourse in the early and high Middle Ages, in Israel and Palestine, in the Arabic literary tradition, in post-colonial literatures at large, and in post-9/11 America.
The Fictionality theme takes up these concerns in theory and criticism, and brings the research of the York Fictionality group into contact with related developments in narrative theory internationally. The Fictionality network has particularly strong connections in Denmark, with the Centre for Fictionality Studies at Aarhus University, but also with the universities of Freiburg and Giessen in Germany and Project Narrative at Ohio State University, among others.
Fictionality group members
- Henry Bainton
- Brian Cummings
- Ziad Elmarsafy
- Adam Kelly
- Nicola McDonald
- Emily Morin
- Elizabeth Tyler
- Richard Walsh
- Claire Westall
Johanne Helbo Bøndergaard
Simona Zetterberg Gjerlevsen
Stine Slot Grumsen
Louise Brix Jacobsen
Henrik Skov Nielsen
Porter Abbott, UC Santa Barbara
Stephen Benson, UEA
Hilary Dannenberg, University of Trier
Rob Hawkes, Teesside University
Maria Mäkelä, University of Tampere
John Morgan, University of Swansea
Monika Otter, Dartmouth College, NH
Brian Richardson, University of Maryland
Marie-Laure Ryan, independent scholar, Colorado
Ruth Schuldiner, University of Oxford
The series of Fictionality workshops has brought a number of high-profile scholars to York, and provided a continuing stimulus to research on a broad range of theoretical and critical questions relevant to the Fictionality theme. Past workshops have featured papers from:
The Fictionality network has at its core the close relation between the ICNS and the Centre for Fictionality Studies led by Henrik Skov Nielsen in Aarhus, though it is also connected with Monika Fudernik's research group in Freiburg, with Project Narrative in Ohio and with the GCSC in Giessen. This core connection is founded upon a share theoretical perspective upon fictionality deriving from Richard Walsh's The Rhetoric of Fictionality (2007); its ramifications include the York Fictionality group's historicizing and contextualizing perspective upon the ideological force of fictionality, and the Aarhus group's emphasis upon the pervasiveness of fictive rhetoric beyond the confines of generic fictions.
The outlines of the York-Aarhus connection are sketched in the Fictionality in Context proposal, here: Fictionality in context (PDF , 97kb)
Projects developing out of the Fictionality research theme, both via the York Fictionality group and the Fictionality network, are the following:
In conjunction with the development of the "Fictionality before and beyond Fiction" project, we are preparing a collaborative article, authored by Fictionality network members Henrik Skov Nielsen (Aarhus), James Phelan (Ohio State) and Richard Walsh (York). This essay sets out the theoretical premises for a view of fictionality as a rhetoric applicable beyond the confines of generic fiction, and is entitled "Ten Theses on Fictionality."
The foundation for the pragmatic, rhetorical theory of fictionality adopted by the Fictionality network is:
Richard Walsh (2007). The Rhetoric of Fictionality: Narrative Theory and the Idea of Fiction. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
Current research themes