The circulation of concepts between philosophy, letters and arts (post-doctoral researcher)


This work package will be based on a list of concepts which are attested and discussed both in scholastic literature and in the early modern theory of arts and letters. The provisional list includes the Latin words: species, conceptus, idea, forma, imago, figura, phantasia, delineatio, prototypus, exemplar..., as well as their vernacular translations, derived and related terms such as concetto, disegno... Most of these terms are of course highly polysemous and might be related to various literary and philosophical backgrounds. Moreover, their circulation between various fields of knowledge already happened in Antiquity and/or in the Middle Ages. The specificity of our enquiry will be to determine if, alongside the other well-known reference frames, the use of these concepts in the context of early modern literary and artistic theories might activate a scholastic background as well, and refer to the contemporary scholastic debates.

The concepts at stake will be studied through their actual use and signification in a large panel of Latin and vernacular early modern texts pertaining both to the field of philosophy and to the field of letters and arts, and a general reflection will be led on their modes of transfer, their evolutions, their translations and their productivity, in a transnational and diachronic perspective (exemplifying the notion of “cultural translation”, as used by Burke (2007)). The enquiry will be conducted on two different levels: the micro level of the word itself but always in context, and the macro level of its impact on the fields of knowledge it is transferred to.


This work package will be entrusted to a post-doctoral researcher in year 3 of the project. Its major output will be the constitution of an online interactive database including both a glossary of concepts and an anthology of early modern texts, illustrating the use, meaning and circulation of the concepts in various philosophical, literary and artistic contexts.