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[...]: Ellipses as a Basic Operation of Literature

Monday, April 24, 6:30 p.m.

Deutsches Haus at NYU

The German Department and Deutsches Haus at NYU present "[...]: Ellipses as a Basic Operation of Literature," a public lecture by Bernhard Siegert.

Literary scholars usually take it for granted that ellipses "mark a silence of some kind" and always had the function to imitate pauses and interruptions of spoken language. Regarding ellipses as a cultural technique means to relativize the absoluteness of this claim and to radically question the self-confidence of phonocentric judgements on signs in general.

By extending the perspective to the philological, administrative, and mathematical history of signs of omission the talk suggests that ellipses are the trace of a much more basic operation: an operation that a) effects the readability of codes by means of splitting off the Real from the Symbolic, and b) constitutes the idea of an imaginary completeness of texts in the first place. For hermeneutics hence the re-appearance of the dot as a mimesis of the typographic medium constitutes a scandal, which violates the law that subjects writing to spoken language.

Bernhard Siegert
is the Professor for Theory and History of Cultural Techniques at the Media Faculty at the Bauhaus University Weimar, and director of the International Research Center for Cultural Techniques and Media Philosophy at Weimar (IKKM). Since 2013 he is also the spokesperson of the DFG Research Unit "Media and Mimesis" at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. He gained his PhD in German Literature in 1991 from Ruhr-Universität Bochum, and his Habilitation from Humboldt University in 2001. He has been Max Kade Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, LeBoff Visiting Scholar at the Department for Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, International Visiting Research Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University of British Columbia, and is currently Eberhard Berent Visiting Professor and Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Department of German, New York University. He is the co-editor of the journal Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung and of the year-book Archiv für Mediengeschichte. His most recent book is Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real, translated by Geoffrey Winthrop-Young (New York: Fordham University Press, 2015).

Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. If you would like to attend this event, please send us an email to Space at Deutsches Haus is limited; please arrive ten minutes prior to the event. Thank you!

"[...]: Ellipses as a Basic Operation of Literature" is a DAAD-sponsored event.