School of Humanities and Sciences
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Johannes Junge Ruhland
Ph.D. Student in French, admitted Autumn 2018
BioJohannes Junge Ruhland studies manuscripts in Old French, Old Occitan and Franco-Italian. He holds a BA in French and Latin from the University of Geneva, and MA in French from King’s College London, and is now pursuing a PhD in French at Stanford University.
In his current research, Johannes studies various forms of incongruence in multi-text manuscripts, pursuing the argument that under certain conditions, incongruence triggers in the manuscript’s readers specific thought experiments. This, he contends, allows to account for a large corpus of vernacular manuscripts otherwise studied as disorderly miscellanies, or else studied for the individual texts they contain. Tentatively and without claim to full coverage, manuscripts can serve as thought laboratories for thought experiments about the conditions of knowledge and the establishment of logical relations (some witnesses of the Bestiaire d’amour); for thought experiments that foreground the processes involved in the formation of a literary canon (troubadour songbooks G and Q); which require readers to think how they position themselves in historical time (Paris, BnF, fr. 821); and which emphasise the role of aesthetics in the formation of communities of knowledge (Chantilly, Bibliothèque et Archives du Château, MS 472). Johannes’ aim is to reassess medieval reading practices as immersive, participatory, and collective, to place the manuscript front and centre as the object of reading, and to pave the way for a pragmatic anthropology of vernacular literacy. His research has received funding from the Europe Center at Stanford University.
Johannes has also worked on the political implications of philological practices, largely understood. In a forthcoming article on manuscript variance, he argues that the three dominant models of ‘text’ in Romance philology, by variously defining their object of study, enable different reader figures and therefore, condition the literary histories one can tell. This work partly derives from his research on London, BL, Additional 15268 (Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César), about which he argues that it served as an agent of communal identity-making, not only in late 13th-century Acre, but also beyond (forthcoming in print). In parallel, together with Federico Guariglia he has edited a section of a Venetian copy of the Histoire ancienne, Vienna, ÖNB, Cod. 2576), thus making available the text at a key stage in its transmission history.
Visit Johannes’ Academia.edu profile for a list of publications (link to the right).
Keywords: collectives, thought experiments, irony, incongruence, variance, non-intended readership, philology, poetics, pragmatics