Serial Thinking, from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment
Groningen, Pays-Bas (7-8 juin 2012)

Responsables : Anne-Marie De Gendt, Alicia C. Montoya, with the support of Philiep Bossier
In order to organize and render comprehensible the world around them, medieval men and women developed a clear predilection for serial thinking. These series included the four elements, the five senses, the seven vices and virtues, and many others. While these mental categories, thus organized into list form, allowed them to structure thought, the numbers in these series also had a symbolic value, explaining perceived correspondences between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Various networks of correspondences were created between the different series, at times
resulting in real feats of sleight of hand. Indeed, how could the five senses be reduced, for example, to the four elements’
It was often by means of symbols and allegories that serial thinking, together with metaphorical thinking, expressed itself at the textual and visual level. Literary series such as the Nine Worthies, the Twelve Pairs of France or the ten days of the Decameron enjoyed considerable popularity until the early modern period and beyond, as for instance in a late text like Sade?s 120 Journées de Sodome.
During this two-day conference, we would like to examine how serial thinking functioned during the premodern and early modern periods, as well as the transformations it underwent throughout the centuries.
Papers (in French or English; 300 words) to be sent with a short bio-bibliographical notice, to Anne-Marie De Gendt and Alicia C. Montoya:, before October 15, 2011.