The medieval literary canon in the digital age (Gent, 17-18 september 2018)

Ghent, 17-18 September 2018
Jozef Plateaustraat 22

An often repeated promise of the digital humanities, in the wake of the “computational turn,” is
that the wide availability and accessibility of historical texts would enable scholars to breach the
restrictions of a literary canon. The present international conference wishes to explore how exactly the digital humanities can provide such insights for medieval studies, in which such a promise raises critical questions.
1. In spite of the computational turn, much of the digital scholarship for the Middle Ages still
seems to hinge on well-conserved and therefore well-known theological and literary
authorities, whose texts have been reproduced continuously in subsequent editions and
translations. To what extent does today’s computational research manage to escape the
straitjacket of the traditional canon?
2. Considering that in the past decades, medieval scholars have become increasingly sensitive
to the materiality of textual transmission in the Middle Ages, the virtual, normative and
reductive character of a digital environment are not always compatible to their research
As the emancipation of the digital humanities from their merely supportive role is proclaimed
increasingly, and as the tools for digital medieval studies proliferate (e.g. digital scholarly editing, computational stylistics, digital palaeography, digital stemmatology, …), this conference welcomes papers —based on either case studies or broader research questions— that both problematize the specialized character of medieval literary production and demonstrate the potential for computational criticism to “breach” or “widen” the medieval canon through digital tools.

Organisers: Jeroen De Gussem (Ghent University), prof. dr. Jeroen Deploige (Ghent University), prof. dr. Wim Verbaal (Ghent University), prof. dr. Mike Kestemont (University of Antwerp)


September 17 — Monday
– 8.30: Arrival and coffee
– 9.00: Welcome and introduction by Jeroen Deploige
Morning session — Canon
– 9.15: David J. Wrisley (New York University Abu Dhabi [AE]): “Recasting the can(n)ons: Towards a New Generation of Computational Medieval French”
– 10.00: Jean Baptiste Camps & Julien Randon-Furling (École des chartes [FR] & Panthéon-Sorbonne University [FR]): “Was there a ‘Medieval Literary Canon’ in the Middle Ages?”
— 10.35: Coffee break
– 11.00: Julie Orlemanski (University of Chicago [US]): “How to Read Exempla: Challenges of a Text Type”
– 11.35: Wouter Haverals (University of Antwerp [BE]): “The Measure of Middle Dutch: Empirical Assessment of Aesthetic Observations on the Rhythm of Middle Dutch Rhymed Literature”
— 12.20: Lunch
Afternoon session — Text Editions
– 14.00: Peter Robinson (University of Saskatchewan [CA]): “Collaborative Online Editing of a Canonical Textual Tradition”
– 14.45: Lydia Wegener & Nadine Arndt (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities [DE]):“The Benefit of Digital Editions for the Reconstruction of Mystical Discourse: Two Composite Treatises as Test Case”
— 15.20: Coffee break
15.45: Miriam Edlich-Muth (University of Düsseldorf [DE]): “Using Interactive Network Graph Editions of Medieval Manuscripts to Explore the Principles of New Philology”
16.20: Gustavo Fernández Riva (University of Buenos Aires [AR]): “Naming and Renaming Texts. Distant Reading of Middle High German Rubrics in Miscellany Manuscripts”
– 17.30: City Walk (with Tineke Van Gassen)
– 19.30: Conference Dinner
September 18` — Tuesday
– 8.30-9.15: Arrival and coffee
Morning session — Authorship
– 9.15-10.00: Diane Watt & Mary Dockray-Miller (University of Surrey [UK] & Lesley University [US]): “Women’s Patronage, Authorship, and Collaboration in the Medieval Literary Canon”
– 10.00-10.35: Jeroen De Gussem & Jeroen Deploige (Ghent University [BE]): “Between Manuscript and Edition: Scribal (re)writing in Hildegard of Bingen’s Liber Divinorum Operum”
— 10.35: Coffee break
– 11.00: Justin Stover (University of Edinburgh [UK]): “Canonical Texts, Medieval Editors: A Computational Approach?”
– 11.35: Godfried Croenen (University of Liverpool [UK]): “Guillebert de Mets: Scribe, Editor or Author? Digital Tools and the Analysis of the Working Methods of a Late Medieval Flemish Scribe”
— 12.20: Lunch
Afternoon session — Corpus bias
– 14.00: Karina van Dalen-Oskam (University of Amsterdam [NL]): “How to Avoid Corpus Bias: Some Thoughts on Building Digital Research Corpora of Medieval Texts
– 14.45: Eveline Leclercq (Université de Strasbourg [FR]): “Stylometry in Charters: a Practical Test on the Case of Cambrai”
— 15.20: Coffee break
– 15.45: Reima Välimäki (University of Turku [FI]): “Authorship attribution and the Late Medieval Literature: Challenges and Solutions of a Heterogeneous Corpus”
– 16.20: Maciej Eder (Pedagogical University of Kraków [PL]): “What is the Difference Between Prose and Poetry, Really? A Computer-assisted Analysis of Latin Style”
– 16.55: Closing dicussion moderated by Mike Kestemont & Wim Verbaal (University of Antwerp [BE] & Ghent University [BE]).
– 17.30: Reception

– Deadline: before Monday 10 September. Registration
– fee includes lunch and is payable upon arrival.
– contact (Jeroen De Gussem):
Members of the Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies
Jozef Plateau Conference Room
Jozef Plateaustraat 22
9000 Ghent

Organising Committee
Jeroen De Gussem, Els De Paermentier, Jeroen Deploige, Veerle Fraeters, Mike Kestemont, Wim Verbaal, Dinah Wouters
Academic Board
Jeroen Deploige, Mike Kestemont, Lars Boje Mortensen, Francesco Stella, Karina van Dalen-Oskam, Wim Verbaal, Frank Willaert

The flyer can be downloaded here: canon-2018-brochure