BOLLETTINO '900 - Notizie / G, gennaio 1997             Successivo


Storie della Letteratura a Edimburgo

In occasione della pubblicazione della Cambridge History
of Italian Literature il Dipartimento di Italiano
dell'Universita' di Edimburgo e' lieto di annunciare:


21-22 FEBRUARY, 1997.

The parallel publication of two histories of literature dealing with
major European cultures is a rare opportunity to take stock of a genre
of scholarship which raises almost as many questions as it offers to
answer. The ideal solution would be to compile a monumental history of
histories of literature', but, in the meantime, reflection by
practitioners and debate from consumers seems both timely and
profitable. In this round table, the accent is on exploration and
constructive enquiry rather than the reiteration of fixed positions.
The organisers feel that their efforts will have been rewarded if as
many people as possible have had their say, and everyone has gone home
from the Gallery of Modern Art with new ideas to think about and old
ideas to reassess.

The organisers,

Carmine Mezzacappa
Jonathan Usher


The round table has been made possible by the generous assistance of
the following, to whom we offer our public gratitude:

Austrian Cultural Institute, London
Cambridge University Press
Cuisine d'Odile. Edinburgh
Einaudi Scuola, Turin-Milan
Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
Giuliano's, Edinburgh
Goethe Institut, Glasgow
Graduate School of Modern Languages, Edinburgh University
Italian Institute and Consulate, Edinburgh
Loescher, Turin
The Italian Consortium, Scotland



5.30pm: Registration (tea available)

6.15: Presentation of the Cambridge Histories of German
and Italian Literatures: a question and answer session with
Cambridge University Press and the volume editors:

Dr Josie Dixon (CUP) will be interviewed by Professor Jonathan
Usher, professor of Italian at Edinburgh University;

Professor Helen Watanabe O'Kelly (German) will be interviewed
by Professor Andrew Barker, professor of Austrian Studies at
Edinburgh University;

Professors Peter Brand and Lino Pertile (Italian) will be interviewed
by Professor Remo Ceserani, professor of Comparative Literature at
Bologna University, and author, with Lidia de Federicis, of the
monumental, innovative and provocative encyclopaedia of Italian
literature, and much else, Il materiale e l'immaginario (Turin:
Loescher) 1979-89. Professor Ceserani, a keynote discussant during
tomorrow's round-table, is also a satirical novelist of Italian
cultural and academic life (Il viaggio in Italia del dottor
Daperttutto (Bologna: Il Mulino) 1996).

7.45: Reception
This reception has been made possible by the generosity of
Cambridge University Press.



The aim of the round table is to facilitate, and bring
into the open, discussion about the decision-making
processes which lie behind the construction of literary
histories. Listed below are only a few of the potential
directions the discussion could take. Please feel free,
at the sessions, to redefine, amplify, refine, reject the
topics as presented here - that is what the round table is for!

9.45 am: First Session - The Canon?:
This session will be chaired by Professor Peter France, professor of
French at Edinburgh University, and editor of the New Oxford Companion
to Literature in French (OUP, 1995)

- the role of literary histories in recording, accepting,
challenging (eg `out with dead white males'), redrawing
the canon (eg `are some forms of publicity "literature"'?);

- the canon itself as an object of literary history (the tracing of
its evolution as an end in itself); sectorial canons (eg generic,
political, religious, gendered etc) versus comprehensive, integrative
models (when does separate treatment become a ghetto?);

- the selection of writing as representative or exceptional
(does one depict an epoch by the salon des refuses or by
those who enjoyed contemporary acclaim but subsequent
oblivion? in other words the relative merits of the contemporary
versus the posthumous).

- the very recent past: the terminus of the present and the
role of histories in the shaping of the as yet unshaped;

11.00am: Coffee

11.15 Second Session - Design Criteria:
This session will be chaired by Professor David Robey, Professor
of Italian and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Manchester University, and
editor (with Peter Hainsworth) of the forthcoming Italian volume in
the Oxford Companion series.

- narrative driven by `cultural mentalities' or `literary events'?

- the place of literary criticism in the criteria of construction;

- the value systems inherent in the axes used (periodisation;
ideological or theoretical basis; canon as value system; concept, if
any, of genre; linguistic or regional coverage; competing concepts of
history and their potential and limitations as intellectual programmes
for literary history);

- presence of implicit value systems also in the dictionary or
encyclopaedic format (choice of entries, length devoted,
criteria adopted by editors);

- the role of explicit design statements in single-authored and
multi-authored histories;

12.30-2.00pm Break for Lunch
The buffet lunch and the liquid refreshment have been supplied by
Giuliano's, 18 Union Place, Edinburgh (tel: 556-6590), tireless
promoters of the authentic Italian tradition of good food and wine,
and specialists in the catering needs of cultural functions.

2.00pm Third Session - Literary History and Other Disciplines:
This session will be chaired by Professor Dietrich Scheunemann,
Head of the Graduate School of Asian and Modern European
Languages, Edinburgh University, presently directing a major
international team working on orality which has resulted in Orality,
Literacy and Modern Media (London: Camden House) 1996. The keynote
discussant in this session will be Professor Guido Mazzoni, University
of Siena, and member of the editorial board of Allegoria, who will be
addressing the question of literary histories and history.

- history and literary history;

- the role and relevance of other arts (visual, theatrical, musical,

- literary history and the social/political;

- national identity and literary history (literary inheritance,
whether unreflected or `constructed' as a definer of community;

- literary and linguistic history;

- literary history and oral literature;

- the place of comparative literature;

3.15 Tea

3.30 Fourth Session - Future Prospects:
This closing session will be chaired by Professor Usher,
one of the two conference organisers.

- where next?

- literary histories in the age of (quantitative) cultural

- literary histories and hypertext/web;

- endogamy and exogamy: histories of literature produced within a
culture, and histories produced from the perspective of another

- supranational histories (eg European) for an age when national
boundaries are breaking down or being redefined; possibilities of a
collaborative project with European funding?

- works as `passive' reference or works as `shapers' of opinion;

- literary histories and the institutions of education and cultural
transmission (schools, universities, libraries, and publishing).

5.45 Conclusion followed by a reception
This reception has been made possible by the generous assistance of
the Italian Institute and Consulate General in Edinburgh.


The organisers wish to thank the following by name for their personal
contributions to the success of the round table: Andrew Barker;
Giuliano Binanti; Emil Brix; Richard Calvocoressi; Ulrich Cuerten;
Marie Dalgety; Elisabeth Ermarth; Domenico Fiormonte; Peter Graves;
Paola Imperiale; Federica Pedriali; Gualtiero Pedriali; Ian Revie;
Anne Simpson

Jonathan Usher
Department of Italian
David Hume Tower
George Square
tel 0131-650-3644


© Bollettino '900 - versione e-mail
Electronic Newsletter of '900 Italian Literature
NOTIZIE / G, gennaio 1997. Anno III, 1.

Redazione: Vincenzo Bagnoli, Daniela Baroncini, Stefano Colangelo,
Eleonora Conti, Stefania Filippi, Anna Frabetti, Federico Pellizzi.

Dipartimento di Italianistica
dell'Universita' di Bologna,
Via Zamboni 32, 40126 Bologna, Italy,
Fax +39 051 2098555; tel. +39 051 2098595/334294.
Reg. Trib. di Bologna n. 6436 del 19 aprile 1995.
ISSN 1124-1578



Bollettino '900 - Electronic Newsletter of '900 Italian Literature - © 1995-1997