The dialogical symposium assembles twenty-seven leading scholars from around the world in order to discuss two key concepts in the humanities: "text" and "source," in literary theory and theory of history respectively. In the course of twenty-seven hours, come and experience conversations from across perspectives of the Greek and Latin classics, medieval contemplative traditions, twentieth-century French-Japanese avant-garde, epic Sanskrit performances, poetry recital in ancient China, Persian riddles, Italian poets, traditional archival work in British history, memory and empiricism, history and deconstruction, suppositions of the past in medieval Indian vernacular writing, Indo-Persian Bengali manuscripts, cross-reference systems in early medieval Gospel traditions, historical senses of vestige and trace, trans-habit reading strategies, and much more.
ACROSS TEXT AND SOURCE
Nearly every field of study in the humanities is in some degree and manner involved in the disciplines of literary studies and history. Metaphorically speaking, these two grand departments live intellectually side-by-side in a semi-detached house, sharing a conceptual wall that equally separates and joins them. Literary theorists refer to their side of the wall as “the text” while historians call their side “the source”. For either discipline, the wall forms a discursive apriorism around which the rest of its theoretical and methodological structure has been built and is being rebuilt. The discipline of history1 admittedly operates with a large taxonomy of present historical material of the now absent past, including – according to the nineteenth-century theorist Johann Gustav DROYSEN – concrete remains (Überreste), sources (Quellen), and monuments (Denkmäler).2 Among these, the written source – which in literary terms is “the text” – holds a uniquely constitutive significance for the historical discipline, since it is the emergence of a written record that traditionally marks the diachronic borderline between pre-history and history. Moreover, historiography’s truth claim of producing an academically accurate representation of the past (or in literary terms, mimesis in its general sense) rests methodologically on how the historical narrative can be documented with critically assessed sources. Essentially, this means propping up and legitimizing the historiographical text by means of other texts...