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Olaus Magnus, Carta Marina 1539. James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota

Call for papers

The Deadline for registering has passed.

Call for Papers: “Cervantes in the North 2017” International Conference at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso, June 27-29, 2017.

Aim of the Conference:

Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the publication of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s last novel, Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda, historia setentrional / The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda, A Northern Story, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, invites specialists on Cervantes and on the Spanish Golden Age to the International Conference “Cervantes in the North” to share their research on the novel Cervantes himself considered his major literary legacy. The objective of our conference is to be a meeting point for critical reflection on the state of the art of Persiles research in general, and in particular on aspects relating to the last part of the novel’s title: A Northern Story.

In spite of the predominance of investigations on Don Quixote in these past two decades of Cervantine commemorations, it is no longer possible to sustain that the Persiles is a neglected work in Cervantes research. Sessions dedicated exclusively to this novel in Cervantes conferences, as well as broader Hispanist conferences, have been the rule rather than the exception in the past years (at least since the Fifth International Conference of the Association of Cervantistas, Lisboa 2003, or the 20th Conference of the German Association of Hispanists, Heidelberg 2015, to the Renaissance Society of America, Boston 2016, among others).

After the paradigmatic studies of Casalduero (1947) and Forcione (1970, 1972), followed new critical perspectives like those of El Saffar (1984) and De Armas Wilson (1991), and in the past decade important monographs devoted to Persiles and Sigismunda from a plurality of perspectives have appeared, among which could be mentioned Lozano-Renieblas (1998, 2014); Pelorson and Reyre (2003); Nerlich (2005); Childers (2006), Armstrong-Roche (2009). In addition there have been (almost) monographical issues of journals like the Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America (vol. X, 1990), and Anuario de Estudios Cervantinos (vol. XI, 2015). In conclusion, at the point of commemorating the four hundred years of its publication, a state of the art approach to The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda, A Northern Story consists of a rich pool of studies worthy of critical revision.

Given that one of the recurrent themes in several of the studies mentioned is how to interpret the geographical and historical reality of the story, or the relation between myth and history in the Northern itinerary of the work, or how the geography and history of Persiles and Sigismunda is inscribed in the political and ideological debate of the beginning of the seventeenth century, etc., we would like to invite contributions that focus on the potential of meanings of the “Northern Story” of Cervantes. From this point of departure we welcome investigations that go deeper into or discuss the above-mentioned perspectives, or that propose new critical approaches to the text.

The “Northern” focus, in a broad sense, invites investigations into questions like:

  • Religion: 2017 is also the 500 anniversary of the Protestant reform, which actualizes the question: How is the early modern debate about the Reformation represented in the novel? Why did the author give his hero and heroine a Nordic origin set in the period of the religious upheavals and reform? How should we understand the role of the Crown Prince of Denmark, Arnaldo, in this perspective?
  • Magic in the margins: What use does Cervantes make of the magic in the North in relation to the magic in the South of Europe?
  • The voyages of exploration in the North during the early modern period and their impression on the novel.
  • The legacy of Olaus Magnus Carta marina (1539) and Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus / History of the Northern Peoples (1555) and other sources for the novel. Contributions that problematize the relation between “historical source” and “work of fiction” are particularly welcome.
  • The debate between “history” and “poetics” in the novel in general.
  • The authorial fiction in Persiles: Does it remain a truth that the sensibility of modern readers is much further removed from Persiles and Sigismunda’s story than from that of Don Quixote?
  • Etc.

Papers on theoretical concerns and genre and papers that question the critical approaches to the work in the past decades are also welcome. Equally welcome are papers concerning the history of the text: its edition, annotation and diffusion.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Jose Manuel Lucía Megías, Universidad Complutense, Madrid

Michael Armstrong-Roche, Wesleyan University

Frederick de Armas, University of Chicago

Isabel Lozano-Renieblas, Dartmouth College

Conference dates: Tuesday 27 June – Thursday 29 June, 2017
Venue: UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Campus Tromso

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words, title included, in Word format to [] by 1 October 2016. The document should include name, title, affiliation and email of the author.

We also accept proposals for sessions according to the main focus of the conference with a maximum of three papers per session, coordinated by a chair. Session proposals should include a title and a brief description (max. 50 words) as well as the individual abstracts as outlined above.

All papers should be read by their authors in a maximum of 20 minutes.
The main language of the conference is Spanish.

Deadline individual papers and sessions proposals: 1 October 2016.
Deadline acceptance / rejection of proposals: December 2016.

Registration: Early 2017. Final inscription deadline as well as all practical information (travel, accommodation, conference fee, etc.) will be announced on the conference web site.

Conference web page: []

Organizing committee: Randi Lise Davenport and Carlos F. Cabanillas Cárdenas (UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso).

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