CONF: Two Thousand Years of Solitude

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Exile After Ovid

This is a final reminder about the international conference to be held
on the reception of Ovid as an exile figure at St. John’s College,
Durham University, 3rd-4th September 2009 under the auspices of the
Centre for the Study of the Classical Tradition

Confirmed speakers include: Josephine Balmer (author of the forthcoming
The Word for Sorrow, incorporating versions of the Tristia), Philip
Hardie (Cambridge) Stephen Harrison (Oxford), Stephen Hinds (University
of Washington, Seattle), Duncan Kennedy (Bristol).

Booking forms for the conference and a fuller list of speakers can be
found on the provisional conference programme at

Those who would like to attend the conference are reminded that booking
forms and payment need to be sent to arrive no later than TUESDAY 25TH
AUGUST to Jennifer Ingleheart, 38 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3EU, and
that bookings cannot be taken after this date.

d.m. Sylvia Lennick

I’m sure folks are scratching their head and wondering who Sylvia Lennick is … here’s the incipit of her obit in the Globe and Mail:

Sylvia Lennick, the last surviving member of the Wayne and Shuster comedy troupe, died this morning of complications from pneumonia in Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She was 93.

A stalwart presence for decades as an actor and singer on Canadian radio, stage and television, Ms. Lennick got more applause than the headliners when the troupe appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in May, 1958 with a performance of “Rinse the Blood Off My Toga,” a Dragnet-type crime skit in which Mr. Wayne, as private eye Flavius Maximus, tries to finger Marcus Brutus, played by Frank Shuster, for the murder of Julius Caesar. As Calpurnia, the bereaved widow, Ms. Lennick brought the house down at rehearsal and then with viewers when she repeatedly wailed, “I told him, Julie don’t go,” a line that was picked up across the country and is still synonymous with her name.

Which, of course, provides us with yet another opportunity to share this:

CFP: Epic Poetry and Flavian Culture

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Chairs: Emma Buckley (St Andrews), Helen Lovatt (Nottingham) and Gesine Manuwald

To form a conference panel at the sixth Celtic Conference in Classics,
Edinburgh, 28-31 July, 2010.

Flavian Rome was a Rome in the process of radical re-making, experiencing a
traumatic change in ruling dynasty and responding to the demands of a new
imperial experience that had to distance itself from the Julio-Claudian regime
even as it replicated it. Vespasian, Titus and Domitian had to re-model the
Principate in a new image, all the while re-imagining it as the rightful and
‘natural’ continuation of the old order, provoking a schizophrenic blend of
imitation, disjunction and innovation in their attempts to forge a new ideology
of rule. But what does all this have to do with Flavian epic? How do Valerius
Flaccus, Statius and Silius Italicus in their poetry respond to the changing
social, political and material contexts of their culture? And to what extent
can a group of texts so often read purely for their intertextual pyrotechnics
be reintegrated with the study of the Flavian age more generally?

The Flavian Epic Network, headed by Helen Lovatt and Gesine Manuwald, invite
suggestions for papers on this theme (40 minutes in length) concerning, for
instance, interactions between the Flavian epicists; Flavian epic’s
relationship with other forms of contemporary poetry and prose; connections
between Flavian epic and the art, archaeology and history of the period.

Send a proposed title and an abstract of max. 300 words to Emma Buckley:

eb221 AT

by November 15, 2009

For further information about the sixth Celtic Conference in Classics contact:

Founder and Organiser: Anton Powell, powellanton AT

Organiser in Edinburgh: Richard Rawles, Richard.Rawles AT

CFP: Desiring the Text

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A one-day conference co-organized by
the Bristol Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition &
the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto

University of Bristol, 10 July 2010

Keynote Speaker: Professor Carolyn Dinshaw, NYU


"In reading Cicero’s letters I felt charmed and offended in equal measure.
Indeed, beside myself, in a fit of anger I wrote to him as if he were a
friend and contemporary of mine, forgetting, as it were, the gap of time,
with a familiarity appropriate to my intimate acquaintance with his
thought; and I pointed out those things he had written that had offended
me." (Petrarch, Rerum Familiarum Liber I.1.42)

Love, desire, fannish obsession and emotional identification as modes of
engaging with texts, characters and authors are often framed as
illegitimate and transgressive: excessive, subjective, lacking in
scholarly rigour. Yet such modes of relating to texts and pasts persist,
across widely different historical periods and cultural contexts. Many
classical and medieval authors recount embodied and highly emotional
encounters with religious, fictional or historical characters, while
modern and postmodern practices of reception and reading – from high art
to the subcultural practices of media fandom – are characterized by desire
in all its ambivalent complexity. Theories of readership and reception,
however, sometimes seem unable to move beyond an antagonistic model:
cultural studies sees resistant audiences struggling to gain control of or
to overwrite an ideologically loaded text, while literary models of
reception have young poets fighting to assert their poetic autonomy
vis-a-vis the paternal authority of their literary ancestors.

This conference aims, by contrast, to begin to elaborate a theory of the
erotics of reception. It will bring together scholars working in and
across various disciplines to share research into reading, writing and
viewing practices characterized by love, identification, and desire: we
hope that it will lead to the establishment of an international research
network and the formulation of some long-term research projects. In order
to facilitate discussion at the conference, we will ask participants to
circulate full papers (around 5,000 words) in May 2010.

We now invite abstracts of 300 words, to be submitted by email by 30
November 2009. Abstracts will be assessed on the basis of their
theoretical and interdisciplinary interest. We particularly welcome
contributions from scholars working on literary, visual and performance
texts in the fields of: history, reception studies, mediaeval studies, fan
studies, cultural studies, theology, and literary/critical theory.

Some ideas which might be addressed include, but are not limited to:

* Writing oneself into the text: self-insertion and empathetic identification
* Historical desire: does the historian desire the past?
* Hermeneutics and erotics
* Pleasures of the text, pleasures of the body: (how) are embodied
responses to the text gendered?
* Anachronistic reading: does desire disturb chronology?
* Erotics and/or eristics: love-hate relationships with texts

This conference is part of the ‘Thinking Reciprocity’ series and will
follow directly from the conference ‘Reception and the Gift of Beauty’
(Bristol, 8-9 July 2010). Reduced fees will be offered to people attending
both conferences.
If you have any queries, or to submit an abstract, please contact one of
the conference organizers:

Dr Ika Willis (Ika.Willis AT
Anna Wilson (anna.wilson AT

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem iii idus sextiles

ante diem iii idus sextiles

480 B.C. — Battle of Thermopylae ; death of Leonidas et al (by one reckoning)

480 B.C. — Battle of Artemesium (by one reckoning)

117 A.D. — dies imperii of the emperor Hadrian

275 A.D. — martyrdom of Alexander the Charcoal Burner at Cremona

295 A.D. — martyrdom of Susanna at Rome

1928 — birth of Emily Vermeule (Greece in the Bronze Age)