Call for papers Transfictions: Minor Characters (Altre Modernità, n°18) (italiano english français espagnol)


Transfictions: Minor Characters

N° 18 di Altre Modernità (

Il numero sarà dedicato ai personaggi minori, ovvero alle riscritture, adattamenti, remediation, ecc. contemporanei realizzati dal punto di vista di, o rendendo protagonisti personaggi della tradizione storica e letteraria considerati « minori ».

Qui sotto la versione in lingua inglese del call for papers. Vi anticipo che la consegna del pezzo pronto per la peer review è il 15 febbraio 2017. Non sarà necessario inviare un abstract, anche se sarebbe gradita una manifestazione di interesse a contribuire.




Call for papers

Transfictions: Minor Characters


Given its dynamic and multifaceted nature, the literary text has always been the object of a stratification of re-interpretations and re-appropriations, of attribution and negotiation of meanings, of re-writings. Throughout the centuries, countless authors have reinvented the endings of classics, they have revolutionized their content and messages with an ironic, comic, parodic tone, and produced “apocryphal” works pretending to be famous writers. Studies such as Palimpsestes by Genette have evocatively enlightened this context. In general, rewriting has been one of the privileged ways to show and disseminate one’s political stance towards official metanarratives, those grandes histoires that have taken hold while silencing subordinate voices, and have imposed their own version of the facts by marginalizing thorny views and unpleasant minor positions. It is not surprising, therefore, that rewriting has been one of the expressive – as well as political – choices typical of postcolonial narratives, especially since the second half of the 20th century (among the many examples, let us quote emblematic texts such as Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Foe by John Maxwell Cotzee, Omeros by Derek Walcott, La femme changée en bûche by Marie Ndiaye and Paradiso by José Lezama Lima).


Within this context, Altre Modernità aims at investigating a specific form of contemporary rewriting, namely that form that – since the 1990s – has had as protagonists (or rather, has made protagonists) those literary or historical characters who are considered as “minor” or “secondary” in the original works. The act of making protagonists traditionally subordinate characters in classic or official narratives will be investigated referring to the concepts of transfictionality and transtextuality (Genette), or transmigration of characters (Eco, MacHale). The purpose is to design an atlas (and hermeneutic) of works (literary, cinematographic, artistic, television, visual, etc.) structured around the overthrowing of gazes and symbols, of political perspectives and cultural representations. Examples of such overthrowing are Almudena Grandes, in Te llamaré Viernes, who gives voice to Robinson Crusoe’s slave; César Aira, in Ema la cautiva, who lets a white prison – traditionally relegated to silence and cancellation – speak; Valerie Martin, in Mary Reilly, whose narrating voice is Doctor Jekyll’s governess  (also present in Stephen Frears’s film); John Maxwell Coetzee, in Elizabeth Costello, which is the fictional biography of a fictional author written by Molly Bloom… Obviously citations could be widely enriched, but this will be done by the scholars who will accept our invitation to collaborate to this issue of Altre Modernità.

It is worth mentioning also another context where new forms of interaction and representation are accompanied by – and sometimes overlap – literary rewriting, bringing forth a proliferation of narrations whose intertextual echoes expand their scope both in terms of production and of fruition. This is the case, for example, of the increasing TV series spin-offs, where the events revolving around minor characters are developed and elaborated, or sometimes literary classics are adapted and marginal figures become protagonists, or different characters belonging to the literary tradition are put together in a single, original, narrative current. Even more innovative, and strictly contemporary (as it is indissolubly connected to the net and the relational and expressive forms it offers) is the phenomenon of fanfiction, which turns out to be even more articulated and unpredictable than the previously mentioned examples, as it multiplies and disseminates rewritings in a rhizomatic and barely controllable way.  Here follow some of the typological and thematic lines that ought to be considered:


– Narrative – Poetic production

– Children’s literature

– Comics

– Cinematographic adaptations

– TV series (sequels, prequels)

– Fanfiction

– Transmigration or characters’ migration

– Allographic or autograph transtextuality

– Rewritings of history/histories

– Rewritings of myths


Such indications do not limit the possibilities of investigating the theme, which, however, revolves around the transtextuality of minor characters in contemporary cultural production.


Papers should be submitted to the email address no later than 15th February 2017.

The issue will be published by late November 2017.

We also welcome book reviews and interviews to authors and scholars who investigate the aforementioned topics.

Contributors are free to contact the editors to discuss and clarify the objectives of their proposals, with a view to making the issue as homogeneous as possible also from a methodological point of view. The editors can be contacted via the Editorial Board (