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Text and/as image in early modern polyglot books

Publié le 22 novembre 2023 Mis à jour le 29 janvier 2024
text and/as image
text and/as image

This conference, a collaboration between the EMoDiCon project and the Translation and Polyglossia in Early Modern England project, will focus on the visual element in the co-presence of several languages in early modern didactic texts. The papers will address the following issue: what part did images play in facilitating translingual communication and language learning across continents in the early modern age?


du 8 février 2024 au 9 février 2024


Bâtiment Max Weber (W)

Salle des conférences

As printing developed, making possible the production of more complex layouts and in larger quantities, language teaching strategies could rely on parallel text formats but also on combinations of text and illustrations, as with Comenius’ 1658 Orbis Sensualium Pictus, which featured an illustrated bilingual (and soon multilingual) lexicon and was aimed at children to teach them Latin. Progress in printing techniques also enabled the publication of more elaborate forms of emblem writing, in which images from different sources could be combined with texts from different languages in elaborate page displays, reshuffling traditional hierarchies between centre and margin and offering new possibilities to create polyglot books.
In a time of religious turmoil within Europe (with at its core the very status of images) and of missionary expansion worldwide, the papers will consider how contact with other religions and other sign systems may have altered the linguistic strategies of missionaries in non-Christian lands, and how visual symbolism was used to promote religious texts as God’s word. In the case of languages relying on non-alphabetical systems, how important was the early Renaissance interest in hieroglyphs in shaping the later Renaissance interest in characters from Asian or American languages?
In a time of commercial expansion and colonial enterprises, merchants represented a growing market for language manuals, not just for European languages as had been the case since the earliest days of printing, but for non-European languages as well: how did they use their language manuals? did they compile their own books with texts and images?
This conference will take into account books produced by European and non-European agents, individuals and institutions, whether they aimed at teaching European languages or were meant for explorers, merchants and missionaries to use in their learning of non-European languages. It will focus mainly on printed books, but it will also feature contributions focusing on manuscript texts and the way this mode of circulation for text-cum-image productions may have evolved over the period.


Partenaires :
Université Paris Nanterre (CREA)
Institut Universitaire de France
Sapienza Università di Roma (EMoDiCon)
Université Paris Est Créteil (IMAGER)
Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 (IRCL / CNRS)

Mis à jour le 29 janvier 2024