Thinking in fragments: Romanticism and beyond

  • University of Birmingham (UK), 16-17 December 2010

An international conference organized by the Leopardi Centre at Birmingham, sponsored by the AHRC as part of the Zibaldone Project, and supported by the Society for Italian Studies. Conference co-ordinator: Michael Caesar

The theme

The first complete English edition of Giacomo Leopardi’s 4,526-page notebook (his Zibaldone di pensieri) will be published in 2012/13. The final stages of this project provide an opportunity to examine the poet-thinker’s fragmentary writing in a wider conceptual context than is usual and to address issues concerning fragmentariness as a distinctive form of the modern, the fragment in space and time, the relation between fragmentary thinking and philosophical materialism, the fragmentation of language, fragmentation and the lyric voice, (re-)assembly. The conference will bring Leopardi scholars together with specialists in eighteenth-century thought, English and German Romanticism, and competing concepts of the modern, in order to explore fragmentariness in modern culture from the Enlightenment to Baudelaire, Benjamin and beyond.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Session 1 - Welcome and Introduction

  • Marian Hobson (Queen Mary University of London): Fragments, satire and philosophy without end: Diderot’s Neveu de Rameau
  • Download abstract (doc) and paper (pdf)
  • David Hill (Birmingham): The fragment in the Sturm und Drang: Goethe, Coleridge and Herder 
  • Download abstract (doc) and paper (pdf)

Session 2

  • Paola Cori (Birmingham): Leopardi, Borges, Deleuze and the rhizome 
  • Download abstract (doc) and paper (pdf)
  • James Vigus (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich): The Romantic fragment and the legitimation of philosophy: Platonic poems of reason
  • Download abstract (doc) and paper (pdf)
  • Paul Hamilton (Queen Mary University of London): The logic of the fragment and Romantic sobriety
  • Download abstract (doc) and paper (pdf)





Jonathan Galassi (Farrar Straus and Giroux, NYC) reads from his new translation of Leopardi’s Canti.

Followed by a visit to the Cadbury Research Library to view a special display of rare and unusual books connected with writers featured in the conference organised by librarian Martin Killeen

Friday 17 December 2010

Session 3

Session 4


Session 5

Session 6


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