Medieval Symposium 2013: Surprises from the Past? The impact of modern discoveries of ancient and medieval texts

Centre for Medieval Literature (CML)
11-12 November 2013


* Call for papers *


In the field of ancient and medieval text-based scholarship, the unexpected surfacing of unknown texts in the middle of established scholarly fields provides an interesting test case for the issue of the resistance of disciplinary canons to the challenges posed by new discoveries. The interaction between a sudden new voice from the distant past and a field of study can be observed here in a pristine state as the recent find had played no role in defining the canon or canonical questions in the field. 
We will primarily focus on single new texts or new parts or versions of texts rather than finds of whole libraries which created entirely new scholarly fields.
Proposals are welcome for papers on any subject associated with the theme of the conference. Contributions which focus on marginalized or practically forgotten texts
will also be welcome. 

Among the questions that could be addressed are the following:

• Can we assess the role of chance vs more meaningful historical processes in the forgetting and reappearing of this text?
• Did the find lead to any disciplinary soul-searching about the representativity of the old set of canonized texts / sources?
• Are there examples of canonical texts that only just survived and which could prompt useful counterfactual reflections? What would the field have looked like without them?
• Does it make sense to talk of textual ‘resilience’ in a given case? No matter what we want the text to say, does it stay strange, uncooperative or contradictory?
• Why does it always seem to make a big difference if a discovered text is anonymous or written by a known author? 

Confirmed speakers include:
Imre Galambos, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge: The discovery of the Buddhist cave library of Dunhuang
Beatrice del Bo, Bocconi University, Milan: The Datini archive
György Geréby, Medieval Studies Department, Central European University, Budapest: The Summulae logicales: Petrus Hispanus or Michael Psellus?
Lorenzo Perrone, Dipartimento di Filologia Classica e Medioevale, Università di Bologna: The newly discovered homilies of Origen
Elizabeth Tyler, Department of English and Related Literature, University of York: The recently discovered alternative text of Encomium Emmae (11th century) at the Royal Library of Copenhagen
Lyndsay Coo, Cambridge University, Papyrus Fragments of SophoclesTo submit a proposal, please send an abstract of your paper and a brief curriculum vitae (one page max. each) by e-mail, before 15 May 2013.
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