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Jun.-Prof. Dr. Eva von Contzen


Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies

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Eva von Contzen is Junior Professor of English literature at the University of Freiburg and the principal investigator of the ERC-funded project “Lists in Literature and Culture”. She studied English Literature and Classics at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, and wrote her PhD thesis on medieval saints’ legends and their narrative art. In parallel to writing her dissertation, she was part of a project (funded by the German Research Foundation) that provided a translation, critical edition, and commentary on Marco Girolamo Vida’s neo-Latin epic poem Christiad at the Classics department at Ruhr-University Bochum. She has recently published The Scottish Legendary: Towards a Poetics of Hagiographic Narration (Manchester 2016) and pursues her interest in narrative and medieval literature in the interdisciplinary network “Medieval Narratology”. Her research interests include narrative theory, in particular its diachronic and historical dimension, epic catalogues, the reception of classical literature in contemporary literature and culture, and cognitive literary studies. Currently, she is a member (Antragstellering) of the research training group Factual and fictional narration (GRK Faktuales and fiktionales Erzählen) at the University of Freiburg. Currently, her main project is devoted to lists and enumerations in literary texts from antiquity to postmodernism.


Publikationen (Auswahl)


Monographs and Edited Works

  • The Scottish Legendary. Towards a Poetics of Hagiographic Narration. Manchester University Press, 2016.
  • Narratologie und mittelalterliches Erzählen. Autor, Erzähler, Perspektive, Zeit und Raum. Berlin: de Gryuter, 2018. (co-edited with Florian Kragl)
  • Sanctity as Literature in Medieval Britain. Manchester University Press, 2015. (co-edited with Anke Bernau)
  • Marco Girolamo Vida, Christias. Bd. 1: Einleitung, Edition und Übersetzung, Bd. 2: Kommentar. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag: Trier, 2013. (co-edited with Reinhold F. Glei, Wolfgang Polleichtner, and Michael Schulze Roberg)


  • Special issue in Style 50.3 (2016) on “Lists in Literature from the Middle Ages to Postmodernism” (guest editor)
  • Special issue in Narrative 23.2 (2015) on “Social Minds in Factual and Fictional Narration” (co-edited with Max Alders)
  • Special issue in Medievalia et Humanistica 41 (2015) on “Scottish Identity” (co-edited with Luuk Houwen)


Articles (selection)

  • “Experience, Affect, and Literary Lists.” Partial Answers 16.2 (2018): 315-27.
  • “Wer bin ‘Ich’ und wenn ja, wie viele? Narrative Inszenierungen des Ichs in England und Schottland.” Von sich selbst erzählen: Historische Dimensionen des Ich-Erzählens. Eds. Sonja Glauch and Katharina Philipowski. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2018. 63-97.
  • “Narrative and Experience in Medieval Literature: Author, Narrator, and Character Revisited.” Narratologie und mittelalterliches Erzählen. Autor, Erzähler, Perspektive, Zeit und Raum. Eds. Eva von Contzen and Florian Kragl. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2018. 61-80.
  • “Diachrone Narratologie und historische Erzählforschung. Eine Bestandsaufnahme und ein Plädoyer.” [‘Diachronic Narratologe and Historical Narrative Theory. Status quo and a Plea’] Beiträge zur mediävistischen Erzählforschung 1 (2018): 18-38.
  • “‘Both Close and Distant’: Experiments of Form and the Medieval in Contemporary Literature.” Frontiers of Narrative 3.2 (2017): 289-303.
  • “Die Affordanzen der Liste.” [‘The Affordances of the List’] Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik 3 (2017): 317-26. 
  • “Listen im Transferprozess: Zur englischen und deutschen Rabelais-Übersetzung.” [‘Lists in Transition: On the English and German Translation of Rabelais’] Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch 58 (2017): 193-220.
  • “Grenzfälle des Erzählens: Die Liste als einfache Form.” [‘On the Margins of Narrative: The List as Simple Form’]  Komplexität und Einfachheit. Villa Vigoni-Symposion 2015. Ed. Albrecht Koschorke. Stuttgart 2017. 221-39.
  • “Unnatural Narratology and Premodern Narratives: Historicizing a Form.” Journal of Literary Semantics 146 (2017): 1-23.
  • “The Limits of Narration: Lists and Literary History.” Style 50.3 (2016): 241-60.
  • “Why Medieval Literature Does Not Need the Concept of Social Minds: Exemplarity and Collective Experience.” Narrative 23.2 (2015, Special Issue “Social Minds in Factual and Fictional Narration”): 140-53.
  • “Why We Need a Medieval Narratology: A Manifesto.” Diegesis: Interdisciplinary E-Journal for Narrative Research 3.2 (2014): 1-21.


A full list of publications and CV can be found on the English Seminar’s webpage:




ERC Starting Grant:
Lists in Literature and Culture: Towards a Listology (LISTLIT)

This project investigates the cultural practice of lists and list making and its manifestations in narrative texts from antiquity until the twenty-first century. The simple form of the list has been remarkably constant for centuries: as a practical device, lists have been a prime instrument for classifying, organizing, and categorizing the world since the early high civilizations. Lists are tools of the mind: in visualizing human beings’ thinking, they are indicative of cognitive processes. In literary texts, list structures have been employed at least since antiquity. The manifold configurations of lists in literature and their enmeshment with the practical usage of lists in a given period take centre stage in this project. How are lists as a tool for thinking and organizing the world in everyday life and lists in literature intertwined? Embedded in narrative texts, lists challenge the received parameters of how narrative texts work. The study of lists in the trajectory of cognition, narration, and practical usage thus provides a risky and challenging alternative approach to narrative forms and functions, reader engagement, and the aesthetics of literature. Situated at the heart of the intersections between cognitive theory, cultural history, and literary history, LISTLIT significantly advances our understanding of how literature and list making as a cognitive tool and cultural practice are interrelated. By scrutinizing the practices of list writing in and beyond literary texts, LISTLIT establishes a ‘listology’, that is, the systematic and diachronic study of lists and listing structures in cultural productions.