Written Culture and Society in the Bohemian Lands 16th-18th Century

dívka s knihouA Workshop Around Roger Chartier

Where: Institute of Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences – Na Florenci 3, Prague 1, Entrance C, 3rd Floor
Languages: English and French


9:30–10:00 Pavel Sládek (Faculty of Arts, Charles University)
Fragility of Hebrew Printing and Its Impact (c. 1520 – c. 1650): Printing Press as an Agent of Destruction

10:00–10:30 Veronika Čapská (Faculty of Humanities, Charles University)
Textual Practices, Cultural and Economic Exchange in the (Swéerts)-Sporck Milieu at the Turn of the Baroque and Enlightenment

10:30–11:00 Michael Wögerbauer (Institute of Czech Literature, Czech Academy of Sciences)
“No Applause Please or I Shall Put My Pen Down Forever”. Maria Anna Sager’s Novels Die verwechselten Schwestern (1771) and Karolinens Tagebuch (1774) and the Problem of the Near-to-non-circulation of a text

11:00–11:30 Break

11:30–12:00 Claire Madl (CEFRES/Institute of Czech Literature, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Which boundaries for which Readership? Enlarging and Diversifying the Reading Public through Advertising

12:00–12:30 Daniela Tinková (Faculty of Arts, Charles University)
The “Dangerous Correspondance“ of the “Red Priests“ from Moravia. The French Revolution and the Formation of a Public Space in the Czech Lands


The Popularization of Entertainment from the Enlightenment to Modernism: From West to East?

An international conference organized by EUR’ORBEM and CEFRES

Where: Maison de la Recherche – 28 rue Serpente, 75006 Paris.

See the program.

See the summaries.

This international conference aims at shedding light on the circulation of “classical” forms of the entertainment culture prevailing since the Renaissance. It encompasses literary and artistic genres (mock epic, parody, satire, epigram, and so forth; cartoons, drawings, and so forth), media (periodicals, satirical prints, leaflets, books, theatre, cabaret, photography, cinema), and modalities (canonized cultures, fortuitous cultures, fashion phenomena and so forth). Often related to antic sources and updated by Western European cultures (Italian, Spanish, English or French), this culture was usually spread in East Central Europe through the German culture, and turned into homegrown cultural patterns. To what extent were these forms copied, readjusted, travestied and mocked?

We would like to assess this passage: does it pertain to reception in line with the Constance school’s reader-response theory, in which, according to Ingarden and Iser, the reader takes part in creating the object (s)he appropriates? Does it relate to cultural transfers which, according to Michel Espagne and Michael Werner, are not only supported by the circulation of cultural items, but also by cultural practices and a network of institutions and sociabilities (schools and universities, reading circles and libraries, associations)? Or should we rather speak in terms of acculturation of dominant cultures’ patterns, in line with postcolonial studies applied to the reappraisal of the trans-European cultural field?

Scholars can be committed to one of these approaches or seek to accommodate them. In any case, they are invited to apprehend the networks and patterns of circulations through which such forms were spread, and to single out the culture they got confronted with: which was it? Was it a “local”, a “popular” culture intended to remain as a “substratum” as it met with these new forms? Did elite cultures seek legitimacy as they claimed a classical, and even more so an antic legacy, may that have been to stand out from the Western canon? How could such forms spring from the reception or integration of disparate sources? Take the case of Sterne-like (or Diderot-like) self-referential narratives that turn the narrator’s irony into a key feature of the text: are they combined with figures, topics, and rhetorical devices stemming from Eastern and Central European canon, folklore and oral culture? What are the paths through which these patterns were spread? (One can think about the so-called “Russian model”, which became quite influent in return in the second half of the 19th century.)

This international conference is designed to be the first step of a research program on “Cultures of Entertainment: Circulation of Patterns and Practices. Another History of Europe from West to East, from the Enlightenment to the World Wars.”

This program aims at assessing the part played by entertainment within European modern cultures. Based on an interdisciplinary approach, the program is based on the exploration of the semantic scope of the French concept of divertissement: a scope comprised between a theological and metaphysical meaning and a more frivolous one. In English though, for lack of a better word, two notions are relevant to better explain the parameters of our inquiry: diversion, as in a worldly standpoint against the Heavens, and entertainment, with its idle connotations and its variety of pleasures. Between these two poles a whole range of synonyms can be embraced (distraction, subversion, leisure, idleness), along with various social strategies, practices and institutions. To what extent do these cultures of divertissement show the other side of European history, and of the great narratives that were made of it?

Our hunch is that such cultures of entertainment have acquainted societies with the transgressing of norms and conventions. Such transgression would have applied to taboo images that were representative of order (as within the institutions of power and control). We believe they initiated social practices, which in turn generated alternative sociabilities. Transgression can oscillate between various figures–irony, mockery, blasphemy–and is a trial for a given society: both a challenge and a touchstone for the contemporaries.

We hope this first conference may give rise to an ambitious research program examining such cultural transfers in its whole European scale. Participants of the conference would be asked to gather within a European research team designed to answer a call for projects (such as ANR or H2020).

Contacts : Xavier Galmiche – Xavier.Galmiche@paris-sorbonne.fr; Clara Royer – clararoyer@cefres.cz.

Local contexts / International Networks. Avant-Garde Magazines in Central Europe (1910–1935)

International conference organized by the Kassák Museum in Budapest, with the support of Visegrad Fund (Small Grant) and CEFRES.

Sans-titre1Partners : Charles University in Prague, Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Adam Mickiewicz University, University of Warsaw, Masaryk University in Brno, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Polish Academy of Sciences, Slovak Academy of Sciences, National Museum in Warsaw, Slovak Design Museum and Monoskop.org.

See the complete program here.

Check on Kassák Museum webpage here.

The subject of the conference is the ‘Central European avant-garde magazine’, arguably the most important medium of communication for progressive literature and visual arts in the region during and after the First World War. Given the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon, the analysis will take an interdisciplinary perspective and employ several different approaches. The avant-garde magazine will be examined as a discursive space of avant-garde communication, as a Gesamtkunstwerk, and as a historical document. As the recent conjuncture in scholarship positions the art of the region in the international context, our aim is to draw more attention to the – sometimes ambivalent – interrelationships between the local contexts and international networks of Central European avant-gardes.

How did the different cultural and historical characteristics affect the ‘local’ avant-gardes of Central Europe? How are the avant-garde magazines of Central Europe related to each other? Accordingly, how could ‘Central European avant-gardes’ be described from the perspectives of Cracow, Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava or Budapest? Through detailed case studies, the conference will emphasize the complex and problematic nature of Central European avant-garde magazines regarding the questions of national/local and international/cosmopolitan. The conference will include monographic, thematic and problem-oriented lectures on current research on local avant-garde magazines published during the First World War and in the interwar period.

The conference is accompanied by a temporary exhibition in the Kassák Museum dedicated to the first avant-garde magazine of Lajos Kassák, A Tett [The Act] published between 1915 and 1916. The exhibition marks the centenary of Kassák’s ‘debut’. The Kassák Museum is the only thematic showroom of the historical avant-garde in Hungary. Its objectives in this regard are to reach a broader audience and to establish the museum as a regional focus point for research into the avant-garde and modernism.