Olivier Bodart


Intern, Comparative Modern Literature
Ghent University
Email: Olivier.Bodart@UGent.be

Olivier Bodart (°1997) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Latin and Italian (Ghent University, 2018). He is currently a Master student of Comparative Modern Literature at Ghent University, doing an internship at the RELICS Research Group.

“For my Master’s dissertation “The representation of the Schelm(Picaro)in modern popular culture” I will focus on a specific case of polytextuality: the conceptual cloud. In contrast to the more traditional polytextual forms (fixed amount of texts, like a short story collection or an anthology), the conceptual cloud is a fluid unity of recognizable portrayals of a certain idea. In my case, I will focus on the modern cloud of the Schelm (Picaro), traditionally represented as a roguish figure of low social class, working his way through society by means of his cunning, the textbook example being Lazarillo De Tormes from 1554.

While this dissertation will primarily concern contemporary culture, I am also used to engaging with fifteenth- and sixteenth-century European culture, with a particular interest in Italy. One example would be my Bachelor dissertation “Ora è tempo: Machiavelli e il tumulto dei Ciompi. Capire il discorso dell’anonimo sovversivo nelle Istorie Fiorentine III.13.” The primary goal of this study was to analyze a fictitious speech in Niccolò Machiavelli’s historiographical work Florentine Histories, also in relation to some of the author’s direct predecessors in the field. Something that came out of this that I found particularly interesting was that he chose to write in Italian vernacular, rather than in Latin, as was tradition for the kind of historiographical work he wrote. This led me to further contemplate the factors that may have been involved in his choice for writing in Latin or in the vernacular and to also gauge the impact of this choice on the author himself and the field he operates in. Eventually, I also started to consider these questions within a broader European literary context. This is something I hope to explore even more while being a part of the RELICS group.”