GERMANISTIQUE : colloque à l’université de Yale sur le rythme (26-27 février 2010)

Article publié le 20 juin 2010
Pour citer cet article : Rhuthmos , « GERMANISTIQUE : colloque à l’université de Yale sur le rythme (26-27 février 2010)  », Rhuthmos, 20 juin 2010 [en ligne].

SEM – Materializing Signs

in Rhythm, Gravity and Figures

The 21st Annual Graduate Student Conference in Germanic Languages and Literatures at Yale University – February 26-27, 2010 – Organizers : Jason Groves ; Joachim Harst ; Kristina Mendicino

  • In 1997, Thomas Schestag posed the
    question, ”In welcher Sprache kommt
    Sem zur Sprache,” only to answer, ”in
    keiner” – and then, ”in allen.” As
    Schestag says, sem is all about coming.
    While /sem/ comes, in language,
    in a variety of forms – seeds, semen,
    seminars, seminaries, dissemination,
    semiotics, – we are here also interested
    in seminal work where /sem/ –
    as sense, meaning, significance – is
    still coming.

  • In particular this conference proposes
    to re-turn to the materiality of signs.
    In an early materialization of /sem/,
    Homer’s Achilles points to (sêmainei)
    the gravestone (sêma) of an anonymous
    person, thereby making this
    stone the turning point (sêma) of the
    chariot race in Patroclus’ funeral
    games. In a sense, this stone will be
    the turning point of our reflections ; it
    will serve us as a model from which
    we will develop the various relations
    that /sem/ entertains with notions as
    different as rhythm, gravity, and figurality.
    Is it really true that ”semata”
    signify only as signs, or can we read
    alternative genealogies of the sign
    proceeding from gravestones, chariot
    races, and their rhythms of turning ?

  • In Homer, ”sêma” as tombstone is
    first of all the one point of reference
    around which the race revolves. It
    thereby helps to produce the ”sêma”
    of the funeral games, eternalizing the
    name of Patroclus. At the same time,
    it foreshadows the fame of Achilles,
    whose death is not told in the Iliad :
    Since Patroclus died for Achilles, it is
    only the ”sêma” of the games which
    figuratively fulfills the claim of the
    Iliad to immortalize the hero’s fame.
    But if ”sêma” thus seems to stabilize
    signification, it only does so by threatening
    instability : In the chariot races,
    the turning point is also not to be
    touched – lest the chariots crash.
    Hence, the gravitational center also
    threatens stability, becoming a stumbling
    stone. /sem/ thus questions
    several concepts of ”semiotics”, such
    as the primacy of the sign, the rhetorical
    figure as tropos, or turning-away
    from the literal, and Christian typological
    reading strategies that
    presuppose a stable figure. /sem/
    threatens instead to turn things
    around, putting forth gravity, rhythms,
    dynamics as elements of signification.
    It thus materializes both as the cornerstone
    and stumbling block of

  • In a wider sense these stones may
    involve figures of conversion – of
    verse, of faith ; signs of death and the
    body (sôma), the grave (sêma) – and
    even the antigrav (Kleist). Hence, the
    conference inverts Thomas Schestag’s
    question of how Sem ”zur Sprache
    kommt,” in order to pursue how language
    ”zum Sem kommt”.

  • SATURDAY, 27th : WLH 309

10:00am Breakfast

2nd panel : 11:00am Grave stones

Chair and discussant : Marc Petersdorff (Yale)

Vita Zilburg (Berlin) : ”Lies nicht mehr – schau !” – Paul Celan’s techniques of materialization

Christin Grunert (Tübingen) : Drostes ”Die Mergelgrube” – Geowissenschaftliche Phänomene als poetologisches Prinzip

Christian Villiger (Zürich) : Rilkes Stein. ”Materialitäten” des Gedichts

3rd panel : 2:00pm Rhythmic Semantics I

Chair and discussant : Martin Wagner (Yale)

Lars Korten (Berlin) : Semantik von Rhythmus und Metrum im 18. Jahrhundert

Alexis Briley (Cornell) : Hölderlin’s poetic ”Mittel”

Daniel Alder (Zürich) : Das flüssige Sem in Schillers Gedicht ”Die Macht des Gesangs”

4th panel : 4:00pm Rhythmic Semantics II

Chair and discussant : Joachim Harst (Tübingen/Yale)

Lorenz Wesemann (Jerusalem) : Y - (Heine, Nächtliche Fahrt)

Pascal Michon (Lyon) : Rhythm as Organization of ”Signifiance” in Baudelaire’s poem ”Correspondances”

Kristina Mendicino (Yale) : Incipit parodia : ad infinitum

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