EXC 2060 C3-2 - Criticism of religion in Italian, French, and Spanish novella of the Middle Ages and the early modern period

in Process
Funding Source
DFG - Cluster of Excellence
Project Number
EXC 2060/1
  • Description

    The special feature of the novella form is its ability to problematize exemplarity and to create ambiguity.Therefore, it differs from older narrative forms, especially from the exemplum. The renunciation of religiousadvice shows that the vernacular literature begins to set itself apart from the religious field with which it wasclosely linked in its origins. Thus, the novella form becomes an important observatory of religion. It is able todiscuss religious issues outside of theological expert circles. By narrating spectacular individual cases,novellas reflect on religious practices such as pilgrimage and the veneration of saints, they deliberatemarriage as a social institution and a sacrament, they explore the relationship between law and religion, andthey examine religious forms of speech such as sermons and confessions.The novellas further demonstrate the constructive potential of language as a medium of religion andliterature. They point to a problem that also concerns theologians: the question of the differentiability of truthand deception, of a possible discrepancy between inner attitude and external representation. By tellingstories about hypocritical monks and false saints, they show that linguistic and extra-linguistic signs can bedeceiving. By questioning certainties, they open up a space of tolerance in which difference is considered asproductive.The project analyses the narrative procedures and semiotic reflections used by novellas when they deal withreligion. The focus is on Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron, and Miguel de Cervantes' Novelas Ejemplares.
  • Persons