The Gutenberg parenthesis – print, book and cognition

The Gutenberg Parenthesis Research Forum

Emerging at the intersection of the research interests of several scholars of this Institute and of neighbouring institutes working in literary and cultural studies from international perspectives, the Forum is constructed around the growing awareness that the dominance in cultural production of the printed text, not least in the form of the book, is merely a historical phase, and one which is now coming to an end under the impact of digital technology and the internet. It can be appropriately designated the “Gutenberg Parenthesis”, an image which usefully identifies a common framework for research on a variety of topics: contrastive analysis of the parenthetical phase in relation to what came before and/or after, with regard say to cognition, or under the auspices of a “contextual formalism”; the intriguing compatibilities, despite the technological differences, between oral, “pre-parenthetical” culture and digital, “post-parenthetical”; the confusions, challenges and opportunities attendant on the opening of the parenthesis in the early-modern period, and on its closing in the post-modern. It is anticipated that the Forum’s activities will develop gradually as shared interests between contributors evolve, from regular, informal seminars probably leading to joint publictions, through occasional international conferences, to more ambitious, externally funded research programmes in the context of an international network. The Forum’s working language is English.

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