Summer School
23 Jul 2024 – 26 Jul 2024

Aesthetic Possibilities: Literature, Rhetoric, Philosophy

Venue: Universität Köln, Erich Auerbach Institute for Advanced Studies

Berkeley-Köln-Yale Summer School Aesthetic Possibilities: Literature, Rhetoric, Philosophy on “Scripture – Number – Image: Literature and Forms of Notation”, 23–26 Jul 2024

Relations between scriptural signs and other forms of notation have been a topic in the study of literature for a while. They did so already before the current debates about digital humanities, the role of algorithms, digital formats of literature, literature and AI, and the so-called “end of the book” have started to give a new shape to the discussion.

The interest in different practices and forms of notation can be followed along several lines. Often, questions focus on how traditional literary texts contain non-scriptural forms, numbers, and images. Beyond that, the very distinction between scripture, number, and image can be questioned. Not all languages draw such a distinction along the same lines, and, to take just one recent example, Derrida’s notion of scripture problematizes the very distinction between scripture, image, and number. In addition, recent theories of scripture focus on the independence from spoken language and on the pictorial character of the operations in question.

Speaking historically, we often observe relations of competition or translation between literature and other discourses (mathematics, economy, bureaucracy, etc.). Thus, discussions on methodology in early statistics focus on narrative versus numerical models; in its entire history, geometry is shaped by parallel forms of and relations between figures, numbers, and texts; and in The Capital, Marx uses both mathematical formulas and narrative as well as conceptual translations. Many other examples could be added, particularly with regard to the hybrid forms of scripture, number, and image in the uses of diagrams, illustration, cartographic representations, lists, and schematic representations—and the forms in which they emerge in literature.

Academic Staff: Rüdiger Campe (Yale University), Eva Geulen (ZfL), Niklaus Largier (UC Berkeley), Anja Lemke (Universität zu Köln)

The literary scholar Eva Geulen is the Director of the ZfL, executive board member of the Centers for Advanced Studies in the Humanities Berlin, and Professor for European Culture and the History of Knowledge at the Institute for Cultural History and Theory of the Humboldt University of Berlin.