Abstracts for Week Ten
Felicitating the Whole of the Polis in Finnegans Wake and How It Is (Wednesday, 18 March)
My question is: what is politics. I will begin through Aristotle’s Politics and his conceptualisation of the human as a political animal. I will argue that Aristotle’s Politics defines politics as fundamentally economical and instrumental. I will then turn to Beckett’s How It Is and then Joyce’s Finnegans Wake for both elucidation and nuance apropos being-towards-the-political and its inherent unworkability.
Dr Sam Slote, TCD
Minor Languages and European Modernism
Between the middle of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th, the linguistic map of rural western Europe changed dramatically, as populations abandoned the local languages (such as Irish Gaelic and Breton) and dialects (such as French patois and Low German) they had traditionally spoken, in favor of major, transregional languages such as English, standard Italian, French and German. We are accustomed to thinking of modernism as the literary mode of the city, but this talk argues that the sudden linguistic homogenization of the European countryside was a fundamental impulse in the development of high modernist ideas and feelings about language. It will draw examples from French, Italian and Irish writers (e.g. Marcel Proust, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Seán Ó Ríordáin).
Professor Barry McCrea, University of Notre Dame