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Collegium 2015: Distortion

This Collegium brings together a small group of internationally renowned scholars to explore the theme of ‘Distortion’ in the transmission and reception of textual objects. 

‘Distortion’ is nearly always understood as negative: it is defined as perversion, unnoticed alteration, impairment, caricature, twisting, corruption, misrepresentation, deviation. It might be said to create a form of the ‘original’ (factual, true, authentic, real) that is not transubstantive as such, but warped, misshapen, skewed, shrunken, amplified, or simulated.

 In textual studies, one might argue that all transmission is distorted—either through mediation, appropriation, colonisation, digitisation or through misunderstanding, lack of contextualisation, or pretence. What results from distortion? Need it always be a negative phenomenon? How does distortion affect producers, transmitters, and receivers of texts? What effect does distortion have on the intentionality, materiality, and functionality, not to say the cultural, intellectual and market value, of all textual objects?

Speakers specialise in all areas of textual studies from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. They are:

Ben Albritton (Stanford), Mark Algee-Hewitt (Stanford), Emma Cayley (Exeter), Paul Fyfe (North Carolina State), Tom O’Donnell (Fordham), Sarah Ogilvie (Stanford), Timothy Powell (Penn & American Philosophical Society), Giovanni Scorcioni (Facsimile Finder, Italy), Elizabeth Tyler (York), Greg Walker (Edinburgh)

  • The workshop will begin with dinner on the the 7th May, with presentations through the 8th and 9th May.
  • Each presentation-slot will be seventy-five minutes long. Speakers will introduce their scholarly focus and research for up to 45 minutes with a critical statement on ‘distortion’. Thirty minutes of collegial critique and commentary will ensue.

There will be an Undistorted Synthesis at the close of the Collegium.

Distortion program

Distortion abstracts and bios