What is a Text

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Course Objective

This course will focus on the nature of textuality, examining its different definitions, for example, in terms of texture, materiality, siginification and meaning, the contrast with orality, body and performance. How do these definitions impact the ways in which we study literary, artistic, cultural, and digital phenomena? How are texts constituted, delimited and interpreted?


Course Content

We will study the fundamental assumptions supporting the various definitions of text, and their possible mutual incompatibility, for the ways in which the question “what is a text” exposes the issues in characterizing, interpreting and attributing meaning to text. The course will take into account hermeneutic, phenomenological and deconstructionist theories of text, the historicality of the idea of text, the distinctions between text and work, the metaphysics of text and its epistemological status, and the possibility of classifying kinds of text. It will also consider the different cultural ways of producing, circulating and relating to texts.
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