“Enlightenment Occlusions: Hidden Hybridity in European Literature and Culture”
ASECS 2014 Meeting, Williamsburg, VA
sponsored by the South Asian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (SASECS)
Saturday, 22 March
8:00 -9:30 a.m.
Allegheny Room C
Follow along as the panel progresses on Storify
1. Katarzyna Bartoszyńska, Bilkent University, “Foreign Imports: Jan Potocki’s Gothic Orientalism”
Abstract: This paper discusses a specific case of East-West hybridity in eighteenth-century writing, Jan Potocki’s Manuscript Found in Saragossa. The novel is often discussed as a descendant of 1,001 Nights. I read it alongside Potocki’s travel diaries from his trips to Turkey and Morocco, among other places, and dispute the seemingly obvious claim that the text offers an extended imitation of the Eastern tale. Instead, I argue that the Manuscript Found in Saragossa offers a complex intervention into east-west discourses, illuminating and contesting the ways in which the West is often aligned with realism and empiricism, as against the marvelous or supernatural, which is seen as the provenance of the exotic east.
Biography: Katarzyna (Kasia) Bartoszyńska received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago in 2011, and is an Assistant Professor in the Program of Cultures, Civilizations, and Ideas at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. She is currently at work on a book project that argues for a reconceptualization of the role of the Gothic in the development of the novel as a genre. A second project uses a comparative reading of literary history in Poland and Ireland as an entry point into an examination of comparative studies and ways of understanding the rise of the novel in different parts of the world. An article related to the research, on Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Ignacy Krasicki's Adventures of Mr Nicholas Wisdom, has just appeared in Comparative Literature Studies:
2. David Borgonjon, Brown University, “From Oriental Genius to Native Genius/Oriental Genies: The ‘Bizarre Silks’ and Exoticist Abstraction”
Abstract: Recent studies stress that in the late 17th and early 18th centuries European representations of the East reoriented themselves from a laudatory Jesuit project to a critical Orientalist project. Attendant to this shift, the Orient ceased to be presented as original—whether in its continued political and was instead construed as a derivative regime—. In this context, I take as my archive the so-called “bizarre” silks, a body of luxury textiles produced between 1690 and 1720 or so, characterized by large, flat, abstract forms which suggest peacocks, pineapples, and other exotic objects. I claim that though these silks vexed an earlier textile history in their resistance to national histories, but also offer us a means by which to imagine the mechanism of cultural exchange. Products both of commercial imitation and aesthetic mimesis, these silks elide the difference between native genius and oriental genies, between fact and fable, depicting cultural exchange as a process of erasures and emergences.
Below are slides from David's presentation:**
Biography: David Xu Borgonjon is working his way to the long view on the comparative history of Sinophone and Anglophone aesthetics. His current work bookends cultural exchange between China and Anglo-America by focusing on the years around 1700 and 2000. His particular archives include the Western European bizarre silks, early Cantonese mechanical clock-making, and contemporary alternate history novels. He is looking for analytic rubrics capacious enough to capture the tenor of Sino-Western exchange, such as mimesis/imitation, or competition/comparison. He received a Bachelors of Fine Art in Painting at Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in English at Brown University. He was born and raised in Beijing, China, and is currently working in New York as an aspiring curator and critic of contemporary East Asian art.
3. Christine A. Jones, University of Utah, “On the Making of a Beverage Trinity: Coffee, Tea, and Hot Chocolate”
Abstract: One hundred years before hot beverages were known in France, early writing about chocolate issued first from Mesoamerica and Spain, England wrote about chocolate and coffee, and Holland, about tea. Circa 1670, French merchant-tradesman Philippe Dufour bound translated analyses of coffee, chocolate, and tea in a single volume for the first time, and he pointed out that they have more in common than not. Although he did not have the chemical language of caffeine at his disposal, the salesman in Dufour pitched them together as energy tonics, sedatives, and otherwise curative delicacies based on “the strong connection these drinks have to one another.” Connecting herbals from Arabia, Mesoamerica, and Asia allowed Dufour to rethink the nationalist optic for understanding the drinks and, by extension, the East and West Indies. My discussion of the resulting “trinity” begins with an illustration in Dufour’s treatise, demonstrates its influence through Nicholas de Larmessin’s Habit du caffetier (c. 1695), and briefly notes its long-term effects in Pierre Masson’s Le Parfait Limonadier, and Pierre-Joseph Buc’hoz’s, Dissertations sur l'utilité, et les bons et mauvais effets du tabac, du café, du cacao, et du thé (1788).
Below are Christine's slides from her presentation:**
Biography: Christine A. Jones is associate professor of French and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Utah. She splits her research time between material culture and fairy tales. Her non-biographical monograph Shapely Bodies (which is on the birth of the French porcelain trade) is making its debut at this conference. She has also done the enchanting work of co-editing Marvelous Transformations, an anthology of world fairy tales and new critical studies, and translating Charles Perrault’s Mother Goose tales. Her current research on hot beverages—from which she draws her paper today—traces the European reception of coffee, chocolate, and tea in word and image from the mid-17h to the 18th century.
For more information on SASECS, including membership information and upcoming events, see the Society's website: www.SASECS.com *
From the original CFP: In response to recent critiques of the Anglocentrism and Eurocentrism of the eighteenth-century novel, this panel proposes to address the complex processes of cultural dissemination that might have influenced British (or more broadly European) culture(s) in ways that have been occluded by the continuing de facto Eurocentrism of Western academics who do not read or speak non‐European languages. How might the scholarly community go about addressing such marginalizations?
Apart from the obvious conclusion that knowledge of non‐European languages needs to be more encouraged in graduate school programs, this panel begins by reorienting basic approaches to eighteenth‐century European literature. Possible questions include, but are not limited to the following: When representing non‐European regions, how aware were European writers of the complex cultural differences of these regions? How did they negotiate environments with a diverse range of religions or religious tensions (in India, the Malay Peninsula, or Japan, for instance)? Further, how did cultures encountered through texts, objects, and interpersonal interactions change concepts of “British” or “English” culture (or other European cultures)? Beyond the aesthetic appeal of “chinoiserie,” for example, what did the English see as worthy of imitation in Chinese culture? Similarly, how might familiarity with The Dream of the Red Chamber or the Arabic Hayy Ibn Yaqzan have influenced eighteenth century European writers? And alongside these questions, to what extent and through which channels (translations, libraries, private collections) were European writers cognizant of, or engaged with, the literature of the cultures about which they wrote or how writers in these cultures might have seen Europeans?
* Soon SASECS.org will also be an option, I just need to map the domain.
** These slides were created for non-commerical, academic use. Although many of the images are in the public domain, please cite the authors or contact them for full citations if using their work.