The Powers of Philology

Dynamics of Textual Scholarship
Author: Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
A stimulating arguement for the return to the traditional focus of Philology
Cloth – $31
978-0-252-02830-4
Publication Date: June 2003
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

Philology–-the discovery, editing, and presentation of historical texts–-was once a firmly established discipline that formed the core study for students across a wide range of linguistic and literary fields. Although philology departments are steadily disappearing from contemporary educational establishments, in this book Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht demonstrates that the problems, standards, and methods of philology remain as vital as ever.

For two and a half millennia philologists have viewed themselves as the modest heirs and curators of their textual past's most glorious periods, collecting and editing text fragments, historicizing them and adding commentary, and ultimately teaching them to contemporary readers.

Gumbrecht argues for a return to this tradition as an alternative to an often free-floating textual interpretation and to the more recent redefinition of literary studies as "cultural studies," which risks a loss of intellectual focus. Such a return to philological core exercises, however, can become more than yet another movement of academic nostalgia only if it takes into account the hidden desire that has inspiredphilology since its Hellenistic beginnings: the desire to make the past present again by embodying it.

About the Author

Hans Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard Professor of Literature at Stanford University, an associate professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at the Université de Montréal, and directeur d'études associé at the École des Hautes Études in Paris. His more than four hundred publications have been translated into seventeen languages.