French scholar headlines Binder Lit Lectures at UCSD

Roger Chartier is a major figure in the field of cultural history. His work is rooted in the tradition of the ‘Annales School,’ combining methodological reflection and painstaking empirical research, dedicated to the histories of education, books and reading in early modern Europe. Courtesy

By Steven Mihailovich

If you believe the current assault on the artist’s originality through rapid technological advances in media and the resulting piracy is unprecedented, then you’re a prime candidate for Santayana’s axiom “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

UC San Diego’s annual James K. Binder Lectureship in Literature last week featured Roger Chartier (French scholar, author and cultural historian of books, writing, reading and education), whose lecture on April 9 provided a glimpse of the modern dilemma by taking a long look back at the antecedent set by European authors and their manuscripts in the mid-18th century.

Titled “From the Writer’s Hand to the Printer’s Mind: Who is the Author in Early Modern Europe?” Chartier’s presentation focused on the history of literary manuscripts autographed by their authors to illustrate the evolution of

writers wrestling ownership from publishers and other entities, who had previously held sway and manipulated the author’s output for centuries.

The process led to the development of the modern copyright as well as the contemporary concept of the writer as an expressive artist.

“In order to consider text as individual property, they are to be divorced conceptu- ally from any particular ma- terial embodiment and must be located in the author’s mind or hand,” Chartier said. “Indeed, the nearest that man could come to a material form of an immate- rial world was addressed by the author’s hand.

“The autographed manu- script thus became the out- ward and visible sign of the inward and invisible genius of the writer. It was not the case in the 16th and 17th century, when the signature could be delegated.”

By addressing the dual nature of the book as a physical object and as a manifestation of the writer’s mind, Chartier noted the displacement of the author’s ownership of the text in today’s brisk dissemination and permutations of his or her writings through technology, such as the Internet, potentially regressing the culture to a time when the original writer was obscure.

“What is missing (today)

is the foundation of books, that is to say a text sufficiently stable to be recognized as an object of property and as a creation of an individual,” Chartier said. “The computer is not the book. So another perspective [emerging], sometimes by the reader, mainly by the publisher, also by the author … is to accept their own disappearance in a sense.

There is a resistance. There are cases in front of courts to keep the categories of the past.”

Chartier gave his talk before an audience of about 60 people at the Atkinson Pavilion at UCSD’s Faculty Lounge. His appearance marked the return (after a two-year lull) of the Binder Lectures, inaugurated in 2005 to foster links between

UCSD and universities specifically in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Lectures are open to the public.

According to Stephanie Zed, chairperson of UCSD’s Literature Department, the hiatus was the result of conflicting schedules and difficulties in obtaining visas. Zed added that the Binder Lectureship is critical to promoting the university as a multidisciplinary institution.

“The fact is that this is a science school,” Zed said. “Although arts and humanities are very excellent, we’re not making discoveries.”

The short list for next year’s guest lecturer includes Dario Fo, the Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright, and Luciano Canfora, distinguished Italian historian.

Chartier said his trip was especially significant because two dearly departed friends and colleagues, Louis Marin and Michel de Certeau, taught at UCSD during the 1970s and 1980s.

Related posts:

  1. Heart of San Diego gala supports UCSD Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center
  2. Plans for Jewish student center in La Jolla rejected again
  3. Keen on life in La Jolla Village, Sandra Munson is happy to be a mom and a volunteer
  4. Hats off to next Wednesday’s opening day at the racetrack
  5. UCSD ranked 32nd best university in the world

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=105705

Posted by Pat Sherman on Apr 20, 2013. Filed under Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Motorcyclist killed in accident near Del Mar Fairgrounds July 21, 2014
    The motorcyclist killed in a two-vehicle crash near the Del Mar Fairgrounds over the weekend was identified July 21 as a 22-year-old Escondido man. Alexander Mackenzie Williams was headed west on Via de la Valle near Jimmy Durante Boulevard at a high rate of speed shortly before 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 20, when he lost control and swerved into oncoming traffi […]
  • Bestselling author Jojo Moyes discusses her novels with fans at Del Mar Country Club luncheon July 21, 2014
    “On my last book tour, I had a day off in Portland and it was very nice,” said bestselling novelist Jojo Moyes at a luncheon recently held at the Del Mar Country Club. Then she paused, looked around and added, “But I can tell you a day off in La Jolla is better.” The British author definitely knows how to please an audience – as evidenced not just by the war […]
  • Solana Beach employee featured at City Hall Gallery July 21, 2014
    From Monday through Friday, David Kloz works as a management analyst for the city of Solana Beach. When he’s not at work, Kloz is often outside with a camera. A collection of his photos is currently on exhibit at his workplace, the Solana Beach City Hall. It’s the amateur photographer’s first ever show. “I’m curious to see what the response is going to be,” […]