The 17th International Connotations Symposium (July 30 – August 3, 2023) will investigate “Textual Reasons for Canonicity.”
Texts become canonical when they are felt to embody the spirit of an age or to voice concerns considered universal at a particular moment. But what about the texts themselves? Can any text become canonical in any way? Or are there specific textual reasons for such an elevated status? This latter question is what the symposium wishes to address. It will focus on areas such as strategies of self-authorization, choice of subject matter, formal, rhetorical, and aesthetic features of a work, as well as methodological concerns: How is it possible to arrive at such reasons by analyzing texts that have been assigned a canonical status? Do we need to compare texts, and/or does it make sense to work with larger corpora to come up with plausible results?