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Monday 6 July 

 

 

 

Getting to Dorf Tirol and to Brunnenburg is an adventure in itself, but since it was the third time for me, I felt free to be flexible. From Edinburgh I found a cheap flight to Venezia and landed there in the morning. I intended to use a few hours to enjoy a boat ride through the lagoon and see the city again. Well, it was not my best day, or Venezia’s for that matter. Hot, crowded, and expensive – coming as I was from the cool regions of this earth, the humid heat got to me – I needed all the courage I had to brave the city, even for a small part of the day. It was a relief to be on train to Dorf Tirol, via Verona and Bolzano. Not an easy trip: I had to change twice so that when I got to Merano, out of sheer nervous exhaustion I just took a taxi to the village. In my hotel room, finally – the world looked much better after a shower: I changed quickly and went to the party!

There was an informal gathering at the Hotel Mair am Ort, on a large terrace overlooking the valley: we had the first glasses of wine of the evening. What a relief to meet people, greet and talk! It was my good fortune to meet David McKnight on that very evening. We discussed scanning projects on that occasion; little did I know (but soon found out) that this cool tower of strength from  Philadephia was an excellent conference organizer in his own right and that he would take care of the next EPIC. I had met the man of the future on my first day – things were looking up indeed.

I also had the good fortune to meet young people with whom I had corresponded and worked before: the beautiful and brilliant Gemma Moss and my associate editorrsz mair am ort Claudio Sansone with whom I found myself engaged in a rather heated literary discussion on the epic genre and its differences from the novel. I argued that no matter what Bakhtin and Lukács are saying, you can’t really compare the epic to the novel, but rather to romance: there are no heroes or divine interventions in novels, but plenty in romances. Claudio retorted that the hero is not an essential criterion for the epic, as there were more than enough anti-heroes in the tradition.

In any case, divine intervention interrupted us, as Alec Marsh, knowing that we had chosen the same hotel, came to ask me if I had the front door keys. The hotel management had probably not yet woken up to the requirements and flexibility of the conference clientele!

As it happened, I had them, so I saved the night – and promptly went to bed - did not want to miss the trips and events of the next day.