Stijn Praet is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at Ghent University’s department of Literary Studies, where he does research on the internal organization of high medieval Latin tale compilations and the multilingual history of the literary fairy tale tradition, Antiquity to present.
“From early on in my studies as a BA in Latin and English and MA in Comparative Literature and Literary Studies, I learned the value of straddling and juxtaposing not just languages, literatures, cultures, and historical periods, but also the methodological traditions and disciplines that have tended to gravitate towards them. This particular educational background has very much informed my subsequent work as a literary scholar, starting with my doctoral dissertation, in which I study the parallels and intersections between premodern Latin literature and the (early) modern fairy tale tradition in the European vernaculars – Apuleius and the Gesta Romanorum to Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. After obtaining my PhD (Ghent University 2014), I spent two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stockholm University’s Department of Romance Languages and Classics and as a Visiting Fellow with Harvard University’s Standing Committee on Medieval Studies. During that time, I started outlining a new research project concerning the multi-narrative organization of high medieval Latin tale compilations (narrative frameworks, thematic threads and resonances, etc.), also in relation to their Eastern precursors and late medieval vernacular counterparts. I am now continuing this project at Ghent University’s Department of Literary Studies, where I also teach courses in fairy tale and translation studies.”
“The importance of RELICS for me personally lies in its aim to study the Latin tradition diachronically, as a whole, and to situate it dialogically within the broader literary histories of Europe (and beyond) – something I very much appreciate given my own past and present research. From a RELICS point of view, being a Latinist comes before being a classicist, a medievalist, a neo-Latinist, etc., while being a scholar of literature is ideally speaking not just a logical side-effect of, but a prerequisite to being a scholar of Latin literature. Lofty and programmatic as such goals and statements might sound, at the very least these continued encounters staged by RELICS with a variety of scholars, periods and languages have often pushed me beyond my own scholarly comfort zones and are helping me figure out where my own particular research interests and specializations fit into the grander scheme of things – not just as regards the construction of literary history, but also in terms of the current state and future of Latin studies itself within a quickly changing global context.”