TitleLiterature Crossing Borders
Date/TimeTuesday 5 July 2022: 16.30-18.00
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairGeoffrey Humble, School of Medicine, University of Leeds
Paper 835-a Mountains, Meaning, Mediation: What Does Petrarch's Ascent to Mount Ventoux Owe to Chinese Shanshui (山水 'Mountains-and-Rivers') Poetry?
(Language: English)
Elizabeth Kate Harper, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Comparative; Language and Literature - Latin; Language and Literature - Other; Philosophy
Paper 835-b 'As fer as cercled is the mapamounde': Beyond the Borders of the Effable in Geoffrey Chaucer's 'To Rosemounde' and Zhou Bangyan's (周邦彥) 'Fengliuzi' (風流子)
(Language: English)
Harry Carter, Department of Comparative Literature, Stanford University
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Comparative; Language and Literature - Middle English; Music; Philosophy
Paper 835-c The Transmission of Islamic Knowledge Systems and the Persian Literati in 17th-Century India
(Language: English)
Sushmita Banerjee, Miranda House, University of Delhi
Index Terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies; Religious Life; Social History
AbstractPaper -a:
Petrarch's recounting of his ascent of the highest mountain in Provence on April 26, 1336 has been interpreted as a turning point in European intellectual history for its 'rediscovery of geophysical nature as an entity of proper value' (Classen, 2013). The mountain brings him away from God, inviting a curiosity in the material world, and thus in the self as a material object immersed in that world. In China, poets like Xie Lingyun 謝靈運 (385-433), Li Bai 李白 (701-762), and Wang Wei 王維 (701-761) had reached new heights in chronicling the aesthetic and spiritual experience of wilderness long before Petrarch's hike. What are the points of (in)commensurability in these premodern encounters with mountains? What insights do these culturally dominant thinkers from opposite sides of Eurasia offer as to how the non-human, non-verbal natural world interacts with the human world of language, custom, culture, letters?

Paper -b:
The period c. 1000-1400 CE saw a revolution in lyrics about romantic desire in Western Europe and China. Fin'amor lyrics were composed across Western Europe, while in China, ci 詞 came into flower. This paper will cross the disciplinary border between these song-traditions, employing analogy to illuminate the elusive yet central theme of ineffability. Geoffrey Chaucer's (1343-1400) ballade 'To Rosemounde' and Zhou Bangyan's 周邦彥 (1056-1121) ci 'Fengliuzi' 風流子 will serve as case studies, as they are exemplary of the different ways in which these song-traditions centre around the borders between lover and beloved, between what is spoken and unspeakable.

Paper -c:
This paper deals with knowledge formation and circulation in the Persianate world of 16th- and 17th-century North India. In the early modern circulation of texts was in diverse genres. Along with Persian texts, multilingual texts, texts in Braj, Hindawi, and Sanskrit invited wide readership. In this paper I trace the varied nature of Persian texts that were in circulation in the Mughal world. In doing so, I trace the involvement of multiple agencies, both statist as well as non-statist. The political and intellectual realm was dominated by the Mughal imperium as it sought to make decisive interventions in the manner in which knowledge was being created and perceived. I trace the history of some of the unique Persian texts (sufi biographies, letters, for instance) in the 17th century that were written without state patronage but were widely circulated in the subcontinent. In doing so, I trace the genealogy of ideas that facilitated the writing of these texts. I would focus on non-statist attempts at knowledge creation and circulation. This helps to trace how the notion of India was perceived in the non-statist archive vis-à-vis the statist archive that sought to highlight the conquests and achievements of the Mughals as a key to underline the idea of an empire.