World Philologies Seminar
Do 25 Okt 2012 | 16:00–19:00

Roots, Nets, and Trees: Future Comparative Philology

Marcel Lepper (Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach); Chair: Markus Messling (Universität Potsdam)

Freie Universität Berlin, Raum J24/122d, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin

The Amerian scholar Charles Mills Gayley argued that Hutcheson M. Posnett’s designation of Comparative Literature “had apparently been coined in emulation of such nomenclatures as the Vergleichende Grammatik of Bopp, or Comparative Anatomy, Comparative Physiology, Comparative Politics” (Charles Mills Gayley: What is Comparative Literature? In: Atlantic Monthly 92 (1903), pp. 56-68, p. 57). Contemporary studies in Comparative Literature seem to re-enact the exchange of tree diagrams in evolutionary biology and linguistics (Moretti 2005; 2007, p. 68). Do abstract models and digital tools provide a basis for a more rational literary history? Can roots, nets, and trees represent the radical ideas of philological universalism? Or do they refer to political ideologies and pseudo-biological jargon? Is a future philology able to reintegrate the global study of languages and literatures? 

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Marcel Lepper is Head of the Research Department at Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach. He received his MA in German Studies, History, and Philosophy from the Université Paris-Sorbonne and the University of Münster, and completed his PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2006. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at the University of Constance. Currently, he teaches at the University of Stuttgart. His research focuses on poetical and philological theories since the 18th century as well as on the history of literature and literary theory of the 20th and 21st centuries. In the context of the Zukunftsphilologie program, he is particularly interested in comparing philological methods and traditions and in the history of comparative studies.
Publications: Philologie. Zur Einführung. Hamburg: Junius 2012; (ed., with Hans-Harald Müller, Andreas Gardt), Strukturalismus in Deutschland. Literatur- und Sprachwissenschaft 1910-1975. Göttingen: Wallstein, 2010; (ed., with. mit Dirk Werle): Entdeckung der frühen Neuzeit. Konstruktion einer Epoche der Literatur- und Sprachgeschichte seit 1750. Stuttgart/Leipzig 2011.

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