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Hacks, Quacks and Impostors: Affected and Assumed Identities in Fiction - 17/11/2017, Freiburg (Germ


The impostor is a familiar figure in fiction: from a layman masquerading as a doctor in Menander’s The Shield (4th cen. BCE) to Flaubert’s incompetent Dr. Bovary in 19th-century France. From Homer’s Odysseus, a king disguised as a lowly beggar, to Nabokov’s Charles Kinbote, a king disguised as a lowly scholar —or so it seems. At this conference we will explore the ways in which literary characters feign authority, expertise or social status. We will address in particular the role of the impostor figure and the significance of his or her deception in a literary context. Such a portrayal often tends to delegitimize the office or profession that “impostors” present themselves as occupying or practicing. At other times, it serves the opposite purpose ––to reinforce the status and value of an office or profession by dissociating it from incompetence and/or immorality. Moreover, a dissembler can also be represented in a positive light, as in the case of Odysseus, engaging in a deceit whose end justifies the means. What characterizes these various portrayals and why?

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 17/11/2017

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Freiburg (Freiburg, Germany)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Nikolina Hatton; Sara Hobe; Virginia Mastellari

INFO: web -


PROGRAMA/PROGRAM/PROGRAMMA: Disponible en PDF/ available in PDF/disponibile in PDF

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