“Scriptile” Objects and the Making of Metaphors - Renaissance Society of America in Berlin - 26-28 March 2015

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A Panel sponsored by Epistémè (Research Group on Early Modern England - Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)
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This panel invites papers dealing with the interactions between material culture and the coining of metaphors in early modern European literature. Many of the objects that are conjured up in the literature of the period seem to have no realistic function and are rather commonplace symbols drawn from a tightly woven net of pre-established meanings that was current in the emblematic culture of the day (e.g., the hourglass, the anchor, the dart…). Looking beyond the emblematic frame of mind, however, we wish to ask why certain objects more readily made their way into literature as metaphors. How does the history of material objects help to shed new light on the process of creating a figurative language? How do transfers between material objects and texts take place? We welcome papers that devote special attention to “scriptile” objects – objects linked to the act of writing or printing (pen, ink, press, copper plate…) as well as objects that already are, or bear, forms of writing, inscription, print or impress (such as coins, seals, medals, shields, maps, portraits, books…) and that look at transfers in terms of lexicon, of text circulation, and of associations with pre-existing literary backgrounds. Did the “pre-written” quality of such objects better enable their literary assimilation? Can this understanding of an object as a form of embodied writing be extended to other “things” less obviously related to acts of writing and printing but nonetheless transferred and fashioned into metaphors? What is the significance of the complex overlapping of the figurative and the literal that occurs when a written object is turned into a metaphor? Such questions, we hope, may help to renew and refine a theory of the early modern metaphor.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 150 words along with a title and a list of keywords to anne-marie.miller-blaise@univ-paris3.fr by June 8, 2014. The RSA also requires a one-page C.V. (not more than 300 words). It must include degrees awarded, institutional affiliation, major publications. Please do not send a prose bio.

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