Hildegard of Bingen in Liber Divinorum Operum LUcca Biblioteca Statale Cod 1942

Authorship in the Middle Ages and Later

The Authorship, Theoretical Reflections and Practical Analysis is an international conference focusing on variations of authorship from the Middle Ages until today

The Authorship, Theoretical Reflections and Practical Analysis
University of Santiago de Compostela’s Facultity of Geography and History and Facultity of Philosophy
22.10.2015 – 23.10.2015


In the last third part of the 20th Century, historical, philosophical and social scientific different trends converged in a common interest: to problematize author and authorship’s concepts. This issue has already emerged in the late 60’s, but it was the Internet appearance and the uprising of technology in academic activities that made it went in depth and, at the same time, became more complex in theoretical terms. In History and Historiography’s fields, the idea of authorship becomes a relational concept, losing in this way its autonomy and relatively isolation as approach, which was typical in the traditional perspectives. The concept of author refers to one or several biographies at the same time, depending on the particular work and on the context or historical moment. Authorship is comprehensive of a biography and a series of works that closely related with multiple collective contexts and perceptions. The author is then part of a historical world that defines the way he choses the subjects and the structure of his work, he publishes his texts and also the way he reaches some kind of public projection. Most frequently, the author belongs to an authorship community, with which he negotiates, collaborates or starts different arguments. These three actions are usually reflected in certain texts, and sometimes they produce jointly made narratives; the already mentioned uprising of technology in academic and cultural activities emphasizes this relation.

In a historiographical field, authorship, co-authorship, collective authorship, author groups direction, independent authors coordination or published works compilation are a particularly complex exercise of interaction, conciliation and responsibility. From the moment the author decides to publish his work, he must face the requirements of the publishing market, as well as the universities commercial and corporative orientations and the industrial trends. Such kind of conditioning, especially in the academic world, may affect the choice for certain authorship forms or communicative strategies. The author – and particularly the historian – writes for different publics that show interest in using his texts and that, directly or indirectly, influence the way the author presents his works and himself. Therefore, nowadays, authorship is not only a published book; it is a work that is a commercial object, a historiographic narration, a historiographical construction.

The author can be studied from different perspectives: his own biographical “name”, the works that he makes in his own name, all the symbolic references ttached to it and all the marketing strategies placed but publishers companies.. Some authors like Roland Barthes even consider that the author has disappeared and has been replaced by the advent of the reader as well as for a culture that is value-orientated.

The texts produced by the authors are not exclusively the result of their personal experience or their capacity for analysis. In other words, the analysis of an author’s theory, text or work cannot be interpreted only by a point of view based on biographical and conceptual structure. Since the Middle Ages, each historiographical production work has been always connected with other texts: the ones that influence author’s interpretative models, the ones that offer similar studies and the ones that provide evidentiary documents that prove author’s theory and explications. Thus, textual documents citations and previous researches’ bibliographical references are crucial for those that study the past. Intertextuality acquires in this way not only the meaning given to it by Gérard Genette, but also a wider epistemological significance, for example in a grammatical way just like conceived Jacques Derrida. In a information society context, with technology’s industrialization, telematics webs hipertextuality stimulate intertextuality, throwing it into a whole new context which consequences in the author’s concept broadening deserve a detailed consideration.

Call for papers

The aim of this call and this Congress is then to analyse and to reflect on these subjects from a widespread and varied point of view without limits of domain, considering all variations of authorship forms, from the Middle Ages to today’s world. The main purpose is to delve into the critical reflection of author terms, biographical name, work and writing’s concepts, their different backgrounds, relations, production and reception’s contexts. Contributions are welcome to consider these and other related subjects, from a particular topic disciplinary analyses point of view, or from specific study cases that may reveal significant issues.

  • Dates:
    – Until September 7 2015: Papers or posters submission must be sent to israel.sanmartin@usc.es.
    – September 14 2015: Acceptance notification
    – October 22 and 23 2015: Congress
  • Places:
    The Congress will take place at University of Santiago de Compostela’s Facultity of Geography and History and Facultity of Philosophy.
  • Publication:
    Papers will be published in a collective volume with double-blind peer review evaluation system.
  • Fees:
    – General: 30 euros
    – Predoctoral Fellowship Holders: 20 euros
    – Students and Unwaged: 10 euros


Hildegard of Bingen dictates to her Secretary Volmar. Since then medievalists have hotly contested “who” was the real author of her work.  From: Liber Divinorum Operum Lucca Biblioteca Statale Cod 1942. Source: