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Seminar on book history, poetry and new technology

Seminar will debate the relationship between textual scholarship and literary interpretation

How does technology affect the classic written word?

Book History and Poetry, is the final event in a series of seminars on book history, with speakers from Denmark, Sweden and the US fuelling the debate on the relationship between textual scholarship and literary interpretation.

”This seminar is a good way of demonstrating our belief that book history has something essential to offer literary analysis when working with contemporary, as well as older, literature,” says Krista Rasmussen, PhD student in Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics, and event organiser to the University Post.

The seminar takes its inspiration from the keynote speech, ‘Books Past and Poetic Futures’, given by Johanna Drucker, poet and professor of Bibliography at UCLA’s School of Education and Information Studies.

Texts, books, and bits

The series is the result of the collaboration between the Textual Scholarship research group and the Department of Book History at the University of Lund, and is financed by the Einar Hansen Research Fund.

”The ‘Textual Scholarship’ research group was formed five years ago, in 2009, and has from the very beginning comprised scholars within both Scandinavian literature and Danish language,” says Johnny Kondrup, professor in the institute of Nordic Studies. ”Textual scholarship is a blanket term for various, interrelated disciplines, primarily textual criticism, book history, and digital text theory.”

As well as working on projects such as the digital edition of the complete works of the Danish polymath N.F.S. Grundtvig, members of ‘Textual Scholarship’ offer university courses. Currently three members give a BA-course titled ”Texts, Books, and Bits”.

Forms effect meaning

The event is intended to promote and respond to an ”increasing interest for the materiality of texts within literary interpretation,” in the words of Dr. Rasmussen. With talks on experimental works such as Nox, Anne Carson’s experimental poem-in-a-box, and poems from the Swedish website, there is a strong interest in the possibilities that spring from new technology.

Why should literature students, or anyone else, take an interest in book history or textual scholarship? ”D.F. McKenzie, a well known book historian, stated that ‘forms effect meaning’. This seems to be a very precise description of why textual materiality matters.”

The seminar is open to all, and will begin at 10am at the KUA1 building. A wine reception will follow at 17. See more about the Book History and Poety event and check out the program here.

Be sure to check out our guide to 13 Danish books you need to read and our article about digitisation of literature at the library Rare books put online and then forgotten.

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