DepositThe Disturbing Object of Philology

This essay investigates a certain disturbance that appears at the moment that philosophy is confronted with philological practices, as foreshadowed in Paul de Man’s seminal work on the ‘return to philology.’ This disturbance appears vividly in Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics with the sudden appearance of the ‘nonsense word’ kzomil. Heidegger’s invented word suggests that philology is not immune to its own unsettling techniques, as is also evident in Gerald M. Browne’s study of the Old Nubian language. Ironically, we can characterize the object of philology more precisely by turning away from ancient texts and toward Nathaniel Mellors’s absurdist television series Ourhouse.

DepositDemocracy and the Vernacular Imagination in Vico’s Plebian Philology

This essay examines Giambattista Vico’s philology as a contribution to democratic legitimacy. I outline three steps in Vico’s account of the historical and political development of philological knowledge: first, his merger of philosophy and philology, and the effects of that merger on the relative claims of reason and authority; second, his use of antiquarian knowledge to supersede historicist accounts of change in time and to position the plebian social class as the true arbiters of language; third, his understanding of philological knowledge as an instrument of political change, and a foundational element in the establishment of democracy. In its treatment of the philological imagination as a tool for bringing about political change, Vico’s plebian philology is radically democratic and a crucial instrument in the struggle against the elite from antiquity to the present.

DepositA Friendship of Words: Philology and Prophesy in Hölderlin’s “Rousseau”

Taking its departure from Norbert von Hellingrath’s interpretation of the significance of Rousseau for Friedrich Hölderlin, the following paper argues, through a close reading of the poem “Rousseau,” that Hölderlin, contra Hellingrath, conceives of his relation to Rousseau in philological rather than prophetic terms. Looking closely at the complexities of Hölderlin’s manuscript while contrasting the philological approaches of Freidrich Beißner’s Grosse Stuttgarter Ausgabe and D. E. Sattler’s Frankfurter Ausgabe, I demonstrate that an explicitly philological moment is inscribed into the text of the poem itself, and that it addresses its reader as a specifically philological reader, while at the same time seeking to establish a “friendship of words” with Rousseau’s prophetic utterance.

DepositThe Medial Determination of German Edition Philology in Medieval Studies

Marco Heiles, The Medial Determination of German Edition Philology, in: Hannes Bajohr, Benjamin Dorvel, Vincent Hessling und Tabea Weitz (Hg.), The Future of Philology. Proceedings of the 11th Annual Columbia University German Graduate Student Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne 2014, S. 183-193. Content: 1. Edition philology in the eyes of media theory: Data selection 2. The theoretical superstructure: Which data is relevant? 2.1 The Age of Idealism 2.2 Edition theory in a digital world 3. The intuitional basis or the limited availability of medieval manuscripts 4. Today’s Challenges and the Future of Philology

DepositA sensual philology for Anglo-Saxon England

What forgotten forms can philology assume anew? Reassessing how early medieval writers loved words differently than we do reveals significant gaps between past and presence senses of the physical phenomena words can index. In the early medieval language of Old English texts there remains a largely uncharted capacity for less linguistically driven aspects of expression, formed through a network of words, sounds, bodies and media: how the mute sound of a bell and the crook of a silent finger come together in medieval sign language, or how the Old English word for ring becomes a weeping, poetic gasp within a heaving breast. Such early medieval moments of communication survive because of language and in spite of language, and qualify the visualist framework through which we predictably reconstitute the medieval past, calling, /sotto voce/, for more than lovely words.