Modern Manuscript Studies and the Question of Terminology

Project Details


The definition and the collation of basic terms are fundamental to the ongoing existence of any scholarlydiscipline. The aim of the proposed two-year project is to take advantage of two incipient external projectswhich are both related to the study of manuscript and in which I will take an active part to foster a dialoguewith the diverging and also converging agenda of the twin projects. The goals of my project is to first helpcomplete the task of collating and compiling the terms and in addition to enrich my own research onmanuscript in light of the theoretical causes behind the divergence and convergence between the projects.The two terminological endeavors are under the auspices of the Center for the Study of Manuscript ofModern Chinese Authors of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Institute of Modern Texts and Manuscripts(ITEM). The intersecting projects should be able to provide a unique opportunity for a dialogue betweenmyself and scholars of different interests and trainings, all working with manuscripts, and also they wouldopen up layers of differences major and minor. The project under the leadership of ITEM is entitled GDRI(International Research Network) which brings together scholars from different continents (for detailsplease see CM03). One of the reasons for GDRI to concentrate part of its energy on the compilation ofterms related to genetic criticism is perhaps the internal need for transitioning into another phase of itsevolution after half a century of existence. The internal logic and the basic tenors of genetic criticism willundergo variation but nonetheless they will not forego the emphasis on the creative process and the nascentstage of the drafting. This will differ fundamentally from what is at stake in the Chinese context where theeffort of compiling and collating a terminological dictionary is led by a scholar trained in the Germantradition and also by Chinese scholars for whom bibliography, philology, the production of the best text anda critical edition aiding the interpretation of the text in hand are important if not the ultimate goals. Inaddition to the fundamental divergences, there are the further questions of appropriation and culturaltranslation which are part and parcel of work of terminological acculturation and canon formation. All thesewill play important parts in accelerating and deepening the theoretical reflection in my present writingprojects and hopefully the combination of the two will furthermore promote the constant reflection andoverall development of the study of manuscript.The proposed two-year project is closely tied to my own current research and writing work. For exampleone of my own interest is to try to find out what would ensue if we decouple the link between modernityand the study of manuscript. The polemic starting point of ITEM is situated at the threshold of modernity.This polemic stance would only fit into the Chinese context with a certain degree of debate and controversy.By participating in both projects, I intend to bring this issue to the forefront and hope that by bringing it tothe attention of all, I could both define and refine my own method of the study of manuscript, withoutsacrificing or constrained by the differences. A second important issue that I propose to deal with is thepriority between the production of the critical edition and the preference for theoretical reflection with orwithout a textual manifestation. The making of a best text is always the goal of the textual criticism. Incontrast, genetic criticism puts its emphasis on describing the creative process and the incipient momentswhich may not or sometimes cannot materialize into textual elements. The making of an edition for the3表CM02latter school is important but not an inevitable or sole goal. At this point of divergence, between the makingand unmaking of texts, perhaps modern technological innovation finds its best point of entry into thepotential fray
Effective start/end date1/08/1731/07/18

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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