Response of Christopher Forstall

Over the course of the past two days, here at the beautiful grounds of the Fondation Hardt, we have been inspired and challenged by diverse new work—both literary and digital—on issues of intertextuality in Classical texts and beyond. In particular, I was thrilled to see the elegance with which the team from Musisque Deoque has combined phonological, metrical and lexical features in their online search tools for Latin poetry. I was also excited by the way in which both digital and non-digital scholars were rethinking the boundaries of intertext, especially with respect the constraints of poetic form and of memory. Not only the ideas, but also the modes of thought and communication have been varied, from traditional close readings to real-time software demonstrations, with lectures and presentations in English, French, and Italian, intense discussions in small breakout groups, relaxed conversations over wine and coffee, and now even ex tempore composition of blog entries.

I’ve made a couple of resolutions over the course of these meetings, and perhaps if I state them publicly here I’ll be forced to keep at least some. In no particular order:

  •  The next version of Tesserae will draw its texts directly from Perseus using CTS protocol, and return results identified by CTS URNs, so that they can be correlated both with the specific editions used but also, ideally, with the results of other projects.
  •  I will look into indexing acrostics and other technopaegnia within our texts so they can be employed in future searches.
  •  I will archive the workset from my dissertation research online, ideally at some central repository.
  •  I will learn to use Musisque Deoque ( and Pede Certo (
  •  We need to give new thought to how we normalize aggregate data such as is produced by multi-text and batch searches.

As new digital tools reveal the vastness and the diversity of text re-use in Classical literature, we are being forced to adapt our notion of what constitutes intertextuality; but at the same time important new insights developed by non-digital scholars are helping to support and guide the evolution of computational methods into mature and useful philological tools. The spirit of collaboration and openness demonstrated at this workshop, which has facilitated a productive and enjoyable dialogue among scholars of different frameworks, methods, and languages, might perhaps serve as a guide for the discipline as a whole as we move forward to engage with what several of the participants—as well as others, for example at the recent APA/SPS meeting—here have described as a turning point in Classical philology.

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