18 Mar 2008 - 19 Mar 2008 All day CRASSH



Convenors:  Dr Emma Wilson (University of Cambridge)
                       Dr Emma Gilby (University of Cambridge)  

This conference fosters Anglo-French interest in collection and compilation as literary and linguistic activities and in the end-products of these activities. The conference springs from, and seeks to strengthen, the formation of an international research network spanning the English and French departments of both the University of Cambridge and the ENS at Lyon and to bring the current interests of the members of these departments into productive contact with the work of other scholars. It looks both to use and to re-examine, from these Anglo-French perspectives, the way that the history of the book has transformed our perception of the material text. From the codex to the computer print-out, we can make sense of texts as the products of collection and compilation.

With the advent of printing, publishers come to define themselves by their 'collections'. Looking at the 'collection' in publishing involves a consideration of how continuity or totality is established in part or all of a particular publisher's output, and what the effects of this are. This concern runs from the beginnings of printers' specialisations in particular genres or themes, to the first publications of individual authors' complete works (collected works denoting collective esteem), to series that were themed in particular ways (generic, thematic) or on particular grounds (erudite, commercial).

We encourage a particular focus on the role played by small presses in constructing innovative stylistic or aesthetic positions in the twentieth century and to the present day. Our comparative interest encompasses the printing and publishing of French collections in Great Britain, and similarly the translations into French of English texts. Political discontents, as well as the movements between countries of an educated public, produce �migr� groupings with their own linguistic needs and their own demands for reading matter. Public censorship can also force private collections, and the intimate circulation of these in turn forces a consideration of the very distinctions between 'public' and 'private', 'professional' and 'amateur'. But collection can be haphazard or unpredictable as well as deliberate. The process of collection can be set off in response to whimsy as well as needs or desires. Compilations and taxonomies can be confused or ill-considered in scope and ambition as well as judiciously put together. And collection and compilations have by-products as well as end-products: the unpublished, rejected, uncited. An interest in collection and compilations can be coupled with an interest in what is left behind, in what simply collects in forgotten places.

Most conference papers will be presented in French, but discussions will be conducted in both French and English. 

This conference has been organised with support from the French Embassy and CRASSH.



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