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Textual Scholarship and the Canon
Hosted by the Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania.
The fourth International Conference of the European Society for Textual Scholarship
22nd to 24th of November 2007
The deadline for the conference has passed. Contact Michael Stolz for more information.
Textual Scholarship is mostly concerned with authors and texts which belong to a cultural canon, but at the same time it is also engaged in the formation and reformation of that canon itself. Most of the stages and aspects of the emergence of the canon is directly related to the issues of transmission, editing, publication, and dissemination of the texts — the issues that are also crucial to Textual Scholarship.
The literary canon of the Western European nations was influenced by the old tradition of editing Classical, Biblical, and Patristic literature in which canonization is an everlasting question. In respect to this, the canon of the nations of Central and East Europe developed relatively late in the context of the mass dissemination of books and of modern philology. Both comparisons and analyses of the models of interaction between those literatures are promising.
The notion of the canon is one aspect among others in which Textual Scholarship is impacted by the theories that call into question hierarchies of value, as well as by the new media that influence the way canon and the modes of its existence are viewed. On the other hand, electronic editing and especially internet publishing are important factors in terms of the reformed or the reforming canon, insofar as they change the nature and scope of the accessibility of literary works and of their particular versions.
The different nature of literary works held to be the pride of national literature was important in determining the differences between the Anglo-Saxon, German, French, and other schools of Textual Scholarship. At the same time one should raise the question as to how the different emphasis of these schools on certain aspects of the texts and their distinct editorial strategies could have helped to focus the attention of the reading public on certain authors and works in exclusion of others.
Controversies regarding ‘canonical texts’, its synonyms or euphemisms (‘standard text’, ‘stable text’ etc.) and antonyms (‘polytext’, ‘multiple text’, ‘fluctuating text’) also attest that the issue of canon is relevant for discussions in the field of Scholarly Editing.
Textual Scholarship, just as any other area of scholarship, has a canon of its own, which underwent major upheavals in the recent decades. It also has its own ‘canonised’ scholars, scholarly works, and the evolution within the canon. Establishment of the most novel tendencies in this area is also a worthwhile goal.
Finally, the discussion of the concept of CANON itself, its scope and application in the context of Textual Scholarship seems to be a meaningful undertaking in its own right.
Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:
- ‘We are what we read’ — but you read what we edit: Textual Scholarship and the reading public
- The impact of Textual Scholarship on the canon of national literature (and vice versa).
- Issue of canonical edition
- Un-canonical editions of canonical works
- Notion of canon and the new media: Textual Scholarship approach
- The canon and the canonised within Textual Scholarship
- Methods in Textual Scholarship: between national schools and international canon
- Textual Scholarship and the CANON
The European Society for Textual Scholarship (ESTS), Vilnius University, Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore