CONF: Reception and the Gift of Beauty 8-9 July 2010

seen on the Classicists list:


Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition, University of
8-9 July 2010

Keynote Speaker: Professor William Desmond, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

This conference brings together two theories of interpretation, one now
well-established in literary studies–reception theory– and one still to
be developed in literary theory although being familiar in social science
and philosophy – gift theory.
We believe that the dialogue between reception theory and gift theory will
create openings for a recognition of the problem of beauty. Since beauty is
among the most contested concepts in literary studies, we encourage
dialogue and debate between the papers and amongst the participants.

In Cicero’s skeptical consideration of divination, the perception and
reception of natural beauty involves the compulsion to respond which is
characteristic of gift-exchange: ‘…the order of celestial things and the
beauty of the universe compel me to confess that there is some excellent
and eternal Being which deserves the respect and homage of the human race.’
As well as the compulsion to reciprocate, gift-theory offers other ideas
important to the perception and creation of beauty in texts.

Proposals for papers for this conference are warmly welcomed.
Topics could include:

– gift-exchange dramatized in discourses of sacrifice or friendship
-translation or allusion as modes of exchanging beauty
– excess, decadence, and hyperbole: rhetorical copia and responses to
-vision, illumination as the gift of knowledge, and appearances as seeing
and being
seen in Plato and the Platonic tradition
– the sublime, ancient and modern
-the perception and construction of ‘decus’ as both beauty and glory in
evocations of
patronage situations or monuments
– l’écriture féminine, composition as gift, and beauty and the body

This conference is part of the ‘Thinking Reciprocity’ series and will be
followed immediately by the conference ‘Desiring the Text, Touching the
Past: Towards an Erotics of Reception’ (Bristol, 10 July 2010). Reduced
fees will be offered to people attending both conferences.

Papers should be no more than 30 minutes in length. Abstracts should be
submitted by 1 February 2010 and should be 300 words long. If you have any
queries or wish to submit an abstract, please contact Stephen D’Evelyn at:
giftofbeautyconference AT

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