TEXTUAL CRITICISM AND TRANSMEDIAL STUDIES | Università degli studi di Bergamo - Didattica e Rubrica


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Didattica Convenzionale
Secondo Semestre
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Metodologie linguistiche, filologiche, comparatistiche e della traduzione letteraria

At least 5 cfu of Germanic Philology are recommended

Educational goals

At the end of the course, students will be able to analyze Medieval Germanic texts through scrupulous examination of textual data and will be aware of the various ways of their transmission; they will have a basic knowledge of textual criticism and of the variety of ecdotic principles used in scholarly printed and digital editions; they will also be aware of the general issues inherent in literary translation and in transmedial practices, both in the Middle Ages and in the present time.

Course content

Introduction to various methodological approaches of textual criticism leading to a scholarly edition (in printed and digital form) of Medieval Germanic texts. Analysis of the poem "The Dream of the Rood", in its manuscript form (Vercelli Book) as well as in the version carved in runes (along with images) on the Stone Cross at Ruthwell; analysis of lines 33b-45b in Old English (cf. ll. 10-20 on f. 105r in the website “Vercelli Book Digitale” by Rosselli Del Turco http://vbd.humnet.unipi.it/beta2/#doc=DOTR&page=VB_fol_105r, diplomatic and interpretative editions). Analysis of "Beowulf" and discussion of the motives and aims of literary translation and of some transpositions into various media (e.g. film adaptations, graphic novels); analysis of lines 702b-726a in Old English (cf. “Electronic Beowulf” ed. by Kiernan, https://ebeowulf.uky.edu/ebeo4.0/CD/main.html).

Textbooks and reading lists

1) Hans Walter Gabler, “Textual Criticism”, in M. Groden / M. Kreiswirth (eds.), “The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism”, Baltimore-London, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005, pp. 901-908. Free access online https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13125/1/gabler_guide_901_909.pdf (or edition 1994 in the University Libray).
2) Maria Grazia Cammarota, “On the readability of the critical edition”, in A. Molinari / M. Dallapiazza (Hg.), “Mittelalterphilologien heute. Eine Standortbestimmung. Teil 1: die germanischen Philologien“, Würzburg, Koenigshausen & Neumann, 2016, pp. 187-201.
3) Marina Buzzoni / Roberto Rosselli Del Turco, “Evolution or Revolution? Digital Philology and Medieval Texts: History of the Discipline and a Survey of Some Italian Projects”, in A. Molinari / M. Dallapiazza (Hg.), “Mittelalterphilologien heute. Eine Standortbestimmung. Teil 1: die germanischen Philologien“, Würzburg, Koenigshausen & Neumann, 2016, pp. 265-294.
4) Gabriele Rippl, “Introduction”, in M. Middeke / G. Rippl / H. Zapf (eds.), “Handbook of Intermediality: literature - image - sound - music”, Berlin, de Gruyter, 2015, pp. 1-23. Free access (through the University Library).
5) Calvin B. Kendall, “From Sign to Vision: The Ruthwell Cross and the Dream of the Rood”, in C. E. Karkov / S. L. Keefer / K. L. Jolly, “The Place of the Cross in Anglo-Saxon England”, Boydell, 2006, pp. 129-144.
6) Nickolas Haydock / E.L. Risden, “Beowulf on film: Adaptations and variations”, Jefferson, North Carolina; London, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2013, pp. 1-142.
7) H.Magennis, "Translating Beowulf. Modern versions in English Verse", Brewer 2011, first chapter, pp. 1-26.
8) Fulvio Ferrari, “Looking at the hero: Beowulf and graphic novels in the 21st Century”. Linguistica e Filologia 37, 2017, pp. 189-201. Free access online
(ca. 280 pp.)

Teaching methods

The first half of the course will consist of lectures in which the students’ direct participation in the discussion (on the basis of preliminary reading of some of the course texts) will increase gradually. Over the second half of the course, the students, together with the lecturer, will choose a topic to study in greater depth – which they may present orally during classes or submit as a written paper one week before the exam.

Assessment and Evaluation

Discussion of the course contents and of the course texts, with the aim to verify the acquisition of both knowledge and critical skills. Discussion of any additional work done by the students on a course topic. To obtain a positive grade, students need to know the different philological methods of text analysis; they must be able to place the texts analyzed during the course in their historical and cultural context, and know the main elements of the bibliographical material. To obtain a highly positive grade, students have to show in-depth knowledge of the texts analyzed during the course, comment them from a linguistic and a philological point of view, also on the basis of the bibliographical material. To obtain an excellent grade, students have to show an organic view of the topics discussed in class, to be able to use sources and bibliographical material, link topics, and master expressive skills.

Further information

There is no specific syllabus for students who cannot attend regularly. However, especially for them, for the linguistic analysis of lines in Old English, the following book will prove useful: Mitchell / Robinson, “A Guide to Old English”, Blackwell, 1992, Fifth Edition.