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Research seminars: October 2011

Seminars highlighted in blue form part of this semester's School research seminar theme, literature and memory. They will be delivered in English.


10 October 2011
Linguistics Institute of St Andrews
Prof Peter Eisenberg
‘Language Policy in Germany‘
5.15pm, Quad room 31

In Germany there is not and never has been a state body which is responsible for the condition and development of German as a national language. The most important political reason for this is that the area where German is spoken became a unified state only relatively recently, and not fully. Even today the German state in the form of the Federal Republic of Germany is highly federalist (in the German, not the American sense), as the name of the country implies.

Nevertheless, the state exercises considerable influence on the use of the language and on spelling. The current situation is best explained by going back to the founding of the kleindeutsches Reich in 1871. The period after 1871 is characterised by the exclusion of about 24 million native speakers on the one hand and by rapidly advancing standardisation in many areas on the other.

It will be shown how political fragmentation and standardisation condition, drive and inhibit the influence of the state on the language from the Kaiserreich of 1871 through the time of the Weimar Republic, National Socialism, and the division of Germany after the Second World War all the way up to and including the period since the Wende.

11 October 2011
Department of German
Prof Peter Eisenberg
‘Flexion und Wortbildung der deutschen Anglizismen‘
5.15pm, Buchanan room 216

Das Deutsche gehört zu den Sprachen, die gegenwärtig eine große Zahl von Wörtern aus dem Englischen entlehnen. Diese Wörter werden in bestimmter, grammatisch genau beschreibbarer Hinsicht in die Kerngrammatik des Deutschen integriert. Sie behalten aber in aller Regel auch Eigenschaften, die typisch für das Englische und gerade nicht für das Deutsche sind.

Der lexikalische Einfluss des Englischen ist so stark, dass die deutsche Sprache inzwischen begonnen hat, produktive Regeln für Flexion und Wortbildung von Anglizismen zu entwickeln. Im Vortrag wird an einigen Beispielen gezeigt, wo Anglizismen morphologisch ins Kernsystem übergehen und wo nicht. Von besonderem Interesse sind Fälle, bei denen Wortbildungssuffixe so weit integriert sind, dass mit ihnen Wörter gebildet werden, die es im Englischen nicht gibt oder nicht geben muss. Dieses Maß an Einfluss war bisher dem Lateinischen vorbehalten. Das Französische beispielsweise hat ihn trotz seiner langen Geschichte als Gebersprache nicht erreicht.

12 October 2011
Comparative Literature Research Seminar Series
Elizabeth Boa (Nottingham)
"Snowy Worlds: Kafka, The Castle, Mann, The Magic Mountain, Pamuk, Snow"

Professor Elizabeth Boa is a Fellow of the British Academy and Emeritus Professor of German at the University of Nottingham. She has published on Wedekind, Kafka and on Heimat discourse.
5.15pm, Buchanan room 216

17 October 2011
Department of French
Dr Joe Carson
‘Representing and re-presenting Roman history: Thomas Corneille’s La Mort de l’empereur Commode (1657)’
5.15pm, St Salvator’s Quad 31

Commodus (161-192 A.D.) became emperor in 180. The Catholic Encyclopedia regards his reign as “the turning-point in the greatness of Rome”. His story is told inter alia by Cassius Dio, Herodian and in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae. Its violent end is revised and retold by Thomas Corneille. This paper will introduce Commodus, before examining the changes to the historical sources made by Corneille in the telling of the tyrant’s demise. It will also suggest reasons for those changes given the literary and social context towards the end of the regency (1643-1660) of Anne d’Autriche.

19 October 2011
Comparative Literature Research Seminar Series
Peter Brooks (Princeton)
"Late Work in Rousseau, Proust, and Freud”
Download poster (PDF, 124 KB) 

Peter Brooks is a Fellow of the British Academy; Sterling Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Yale University; Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar in the University Center for Human Values and the Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University.
5.15pm, School II, St Salvator’s Quad

20 October 2011
ITALICA/ Italian Culture Institute
Petro Neglie
Italian Risorgimento Women
5.15pm, Buchanan room 216

26 October 2011
Comparative Literature Research Seminar Series
Ben Hutchinson (University of Kent)
"From Pure Style to Purely Style? Modernism and the "Absolute Manner""

Ben Hutchinson is Reader in German and Comparative Literature, Co-Director of the Centre for Modern European Literature, and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Kent. He has published widely on European literature, including the monographs Rilke’s Poetics of Becoming (2006), W. G. Sebald. Die dialektische Imagination (2009), and the forthcoming Modernism and Style (2011). He is also the editor of an English edition of Rilke’s The Book of Hours (2008), and the co-editor of the forthcoming volumes A Literature of Restitution: Critical Essays on W.G. Sebald (2011) and ‘Archive’, Comparative Critical Studies 8: 2-3 (2011).
5.15pm, Arts Seminar Room 1

27 October 2011
PG seminar
Title tbc
4pm, Arts seminar room 4

28 October 2011
Spanish Research Seminars
Professor Nigel Dennis
‘The Archive of Juan Guerrero Ruiz and the Generation of 1927 on Film’

Juan Guerrero Ruiz has passed into history as the most loyal admirer and collaborator of Nobel prizewinner Juan Ramón Jiménez and as the author of a key book – Juan Ramón de viva voz – in which he records the conversations he had with the poet over many years. Through Jiménez he met and became close friends with all the young writers of the period; in the dedication of his “Romance de la guardia civil española”, Lorca calls him “cónsul general de la poesía”. In the mid-1920s he began collecting all kinds of documents by and about those writers and built up an immense archive, now housed at the University of Puerto Rico. Guerrero was also a keen amateur photographer and his archive contains many unpublished photographs of the writers of the time. In the years of the Republic he even tried his hand at film-making, using a primitive camera, and caught on film people like Guillén, Salinas, Lorca, Altolaguirre, Cernuda, Bergamín & Villalón. Professor Dennis has worked in this archive and will show a selection of documents and photos from it as a preamble to a screening of a recently restored version of his unique moving images of the Generation of 1927.
4pm, Room 36, St Salvator’s Quad

31 October 2011
Department of French
Professor John O’Brien (Royal Holloway)
Wounded Artefacts: Renaissance Books and the Culture of Censorship
5.15pm, St Salvator’s Quad room 31

This lecture situates the Renaissance culture of censorship in the light of Chartier’s reflections on the book as a physical artefact in order to extend and modify existing notions of vulnerability in Renaissance texts (Greene, Cave). After considering a range of instances of censorship in French Renaissance texts, it turns to one extensive example: Montaigne’s Essais. It attempts to show how Montaigne reacts to the censorship of his work that was made in 1581 and further argues that the idea of familia (which it defines) is crucial in understanding the ambivalent processes of protection and openness that the Essais embody. In conclusion, it returns to the notion of vulnerability and shows how Montaigne envisages the Lucretian atomizing of print culture itself.