I used to live on the roof of the world, trying to understand why some stories get preserved for millennia and other ones disappear. I spent three years there. I wasn’t alone: I had colleagues with me, all thinking very hard about narrative and storytelling and how to talk about the ways people used to tell stories, in the other country of the past, when what truth and verisimilitude and good storytelling might have meant very different things than what they mean to us now.
No, I hadn’t joined a monastery devoted to a cult of literary criticism, located in the far north. Promise.
I was a historian, and I worked at Uppsala University, on a research project called Text and Narrative in Byzantium. It’s where I learned about narratology. In a way, I became a narratologist myself.