Thursday, December 18, 2008

Second Announcement: Marco Manuscript Workshop: “Textual Trauma: Violence Against Texts”

Second Announcement:
Marco Manuscript Workshop: “Textual Trauma: Violence Against Texts”
February 6-7, 2009
Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville will host a two-day workshop
on manuscript studies on February 6-7, 2009. The workshop is
sponsored by the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance
Studies and organized by Professors Roy M. Liuzza (English) and
Maura K. Lafferty (Classics). As in previous years, the workshop is
intended to be more a class than a conference; participants will be
invited to share both their successes and frustrations, and work
together to develop better professional skills for textual and
paleographical work.

This year’s workshop will explore acts of violence, deliberate or
otherwise, against texts. Aside from damage through accident or
neglect, many manuscripts have erasures or corrections by
contemporary or later scribes; words are deleted, names erased, text
cancelled. Erasures and other deletions call attention to
themselves, reminding the reader to remember to forget what has been
altered or removed. Damage and defacement may reveal as much about
reading practices, ownership (of individual books and of the meaning
of the text itself), claims of authority, assertions of power, the
circulation of texts, and the interactions of textual communities as
more positive marks like glosses, annotations, and colophons. Some
books fall apart from overuse; others are dismembered for scrap;
equally severe damage can result from a modern curator’s efforts to
preserve or recover faded readings. Texts can also be violated in
less physically damaging ways: rewritings can fundamentally alter
the text's meaning, sections can be extracted and placed in new
contexts, contradictory texts can be bound together, commentary that
attacks or distorts the text can be copied alongside it, and so on.
Arguably, even modern printed critical editions imposes this sort of
violence on the texts they hope to preserve. How should we regard
these many forms of violent engagement with texts? Is an act of
textual violence always a violation, the destruction of a privileged
original, a gap that must be repaired? Or can editors and readers
learn to regard the violence itself as an element of the text's
identity as a cultural and social construct? How can we read such
violence to understand the later use, appropriation, or abuse of the
text, and its new role(s) in a changing world?

All workshop events are open to scholars and students at any level
who may be interested in learning more about textual scholarship
through this discussion of practical examples. The cost of the
workshop is $50 for faculty and $25 for students; this fee includes
lunches on Friday and Saturday, and a reception on Friday evening.
The workshop dinner on Friday evening is available for an additional
charge. A schedule of sessions and registration form (in .pdf
format) is available for download at

For more information, please contact Roy M. Liuzza at .

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