Chair: Monika Fludernik and Suzanne Keen
This guaranteed ISSN panel for the 2013 Boston MLA Convention analyzes how interior spaces (rooms, houses, halls, prisons, offices, covered markets, etc.) are presented in narrative. It particularly examines (a) perspectivism in the description of interior spaces before 1850. Were these spaces presented perspectivally (or not) before the dominance of internal focalization? If a character's perceptions do not govern representation of the space he or she enters or moves in, what does? According to Franz Stanzel, eighteenth-century novels typically present interiors aperspectivally, mentioning a space and a few objects in it, but omitting any information of how these objects are arranged within the space. Is this true of earlier narratives, including verse romances? Perspectival rendering of space makes it possible for the reader to visualize objects in the building in relation to one another, even to map the room and its contents. The panel will contribute to the discussion of the recent spatial turn in literary studies, connect with theories about the poetics of space, and contextualize concepts of perspective with reference to literature, psychology, and the visual arts.