Novel Saints: Ancient Fiction and Hagiography Research Centre

The novel is currently the most popular literary genre worldwide. Yet its early history has hardly been written. The research team of Novel Saints aims to enhance our understanding of this history (both conceptually and cross-culturally) by studying the novel in antiquity (both Latin and Greek) as well as its persistences in late antique and early medieval narrative traditions. This period has so far constituted a blind spot on the radar of scholars working on the history of the novel, much to the detriment of the study of narrative in subsequent periods, as the medieval era has been regarded as an ‘empty’ interim period between the late antique representatives of the genre (ca. 3rd-4th cent.) and the re-emergence of the novel in 11th-12th-century Byzantium and 11th-century Persia. Methodologically, the team combines insights from both ancient and modern rhetorical and literary theories.

Principal Investigator: Prof. Koen De Temmerman

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Financial support

Our research team is generously supported by:


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under both the European Union’s Seventh framework programme (Starting Grant agreement No. 337344 Novel Saints) and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Consolidator Grant agreement No. 819459 Novel Echoes).