Visegrad Guest 4: Roger Chartier, between Warsaw & Prague

In the frame of the Visegrad Forum program, CEFRES is pleased to host in cooperation with the Institute of Polish Culture (coordinator: Paweł Rodak) and the Center of French Civilization and Francophone Studies (coordinator: Paul Gradvohl) of the University of Warsaw, the Institute of Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences (coordinator: Michael Wögerbauer) and the Department of history of the Pedagogical Faculty at Charles University (coordinator: Jiří Hnilica) French historian Roger Chartier from 16 to 19 May 2016!

See the program on our calendar.

chartier. PhotographProf. Roger Chartier has been teaching the history of “Written and Cultures in Modern Europe” since 2007 at Collège de France. A scholar from EHESS from 1984, he has also been an Annenberg Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia since 2001. Alongside his outstanding research on the history of books, publishing and reading in early modern history, Prof. Chartier has also dedicated part of his work to epistemological questions in history.

In this field, he’s published several major contributions which influenced the elaboration of a cultural history of social facts in France and abroad, in the wake of both the Annales’s works and the linguistic turn. Most of them have been collected in two main books, both translated in several languages:

  • Cultural history. Between Practices and Representations (Cambridge, Polity Press / Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1988 )
  • Au bord de la falaise. L’histoire entre certitudes et inquiétude (Albin Michel, 1998, 2009)

After working on education, Roger Chartier focused on every aspect of written culture—authors, readers, the materiality of texts, especially the printed book—in order to examine broader questions in social history. He, therefore, addresses the social representations and the practices surrounding texts (from authors’ and editors’ strategies to the ways readers make texts their own). Thus, he has renewed their understanding through a methodology combining cultural and social history, the history of literature and the history of knowledge.

Roger Chartier is the coeditor of several reference handbooks, such as Histoire de l’édition française (with Henri-Jean Martin, 4 vols., Ed. du Cercle de la librairie, 1983-1986), Pratiques de la lecture (Payot 1993) and Storia della lettura nel mondo Occidentale (with Guglielmo Cavallo, Editori Laterza, 1995).

His own books have become reference works and are available in several languages—in English:

  • Cultural History: Between Practices and Representations, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Cornell University Press, 1989).
  • The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution (Bicentennial Reflections on the French Revolution) (Duke University Press Books, 1991)
  • The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe Between the 14th and 18th Centuries (Stanford University Press, 1994)
  • Forms and Meanings: Texts, Performances, and Audiences from Codex to Computer  (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995)
  • On the Edge of the Cliff: History, Language and Practices (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996)
  • Inscription and Erasure: Literature and Written Culture from the Eleventh to the Eighteenth Century‘ (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)

Roger Chartier’s work keeps sources at close range. His fields of research are particularly vast: from hawker literature to editions devoted to “popular” readerships under the old régime, and from Shakespeare’s and Cervantes’s editions to Spanish Golden Century or French classical theatre.

Find more on Collège de France‘s website.

Last Publications

  • La Main de l’auteur et l’esprit de l’imprimeur : XVIe-XVIIIe siècle, Paris, Gallimard, 2015.
  • Cardenio entre Cervantès et Shakespeare. Histoire d’une pièce perdue, Paris, Gallimard, 2011.

In Czech: Na okraje útesu, Červený Kostelec, Pavel Mervart, 2010.