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Major Corrections: the Materialist Philology of Sebastiano Timpanaro

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September 20, 2022

Event Subtitle / Short Description

Click here for the Zoom registration link


Face masks are required for in-person attendance

Speaker & Affiliation

Tom Geue, University of St. Andrews


4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
010 East Pyne and Zoom


Sebastiano Timpanaro (1923-2000) was one of the tightest and brightest thinkers of the 20th century. Trained as a classical philologist in the most German sense of the word, Timpanaro also maintained an unwavering, antagonistic, and near life-long commitment to the realisation of socialism. But his intellectual contributions go well beyond one or the other sphere of philology or politics: studies on 19th century European cultural history, Freudian psychoanalysis, the evolution of linguistics, the history of classical scholarship, and 19th century Italian literature rolled off Timpanaro’s typewriter to make him a rare and genuine example of the thing we always say we want to be, interdisciplinary. While Timpanaro himself maintained a strict separation between his philological pursuits and ‘the rest’, self-effacingly side-lining his classical activity as narrow and dry, this talk will read against the grain to trace the ongoing value of philology to Timpanaro’s varied intellectual output. We will hopefully see how philology as toolkit and worldview can sometimes be used for good rather than evil, in exceptional cases not necessarily a vehicle for oppression, but a technique of propelling justice, equality, and struggle.