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Adventure and Suspense. On a History of their Relationship

Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, LMU Munich
Principal Investigator: PD Dr. Wolfram Ette


The aim of this project is to explore the relationship between ‘adventure’ and ‘suspense’ from a historical and systematic perspective. Adventure and suspense seem to be congruent and to imply one another, but they have different origins. With regard to their typology and classification, suspense is a dramatic, adventure a narrative paradigm. However, this involves two distinct (if not contradictory) ideas of form. The project deals with the interference of these two paradigms. From this vantage point the history of adventure can be studied with greater depth and more systematic coherence. In turn, the history of suspense can be reassessed from the perspective of ‘exciting’ and ‘thrilling’ adventure tales which are determined by the paradigm of suspense.
The project has three objectives: 1. to develop a theory of adventurous suspense; 2. to shed light on important historical landmarks in the relationship between adventure and suspense; 3. to relate the crucial turning points in this history to major social and cultural developments. The three parts of the planned monograph correspond to these objectives.

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Previous Project (1. Funding Period)