The Society for Early Modern Classical Reception (SEMCR) invites proposals for papers to be delivered at the 2019 meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in San Diego. For itsfourth panel, SEMCR invites abstracts on the subject of “Classical and Early Modern Epic: Comparative Approaches and New Perspectives”. In particular, we welcome papers offering reassessments of the current state of the field from cross-cultural and cross-temporal perspectives, or proposing new approaches to the connections between classical and early modern epic using methodologies from philology, digital humanities, cognitive studies, visual studies, or world literature.
In the shadow of a rising nationalism, epic poetry has taken on an ever greater importance through its mediation of national identity and as a focal point of reference and contestation. Even within rarefied scholarly discussions, the study of the genre, like epic itself, can appear to dominate other material, whether less canonical genres or non-Western epic. While the genealogical bonds between classical and early modern epic can seem to strengthen national ideologies and academic conventions, however, the content of the poems often works against such assumptions. Moreover, increasing diversity in research methods and scope, especially through collaboration, enables the scholarly community to renew the study of epic in more expansive and imaginative ways. Our panel aims, therefore, to reflect on the reception of Greco-Roman epic in early modernity partly as a topic in its own right, and partly as a means of understanding more general issues of theory, practice, and canonicity in literature and culture at large.
Proposals responding to recent developments in the scholarship might address, but are not limited to, one of the following questions:
- In light of recent work by Mazzotta, Ramachandran, Laird, and others, how might attention to worldmaking, post-colonial thought, and classical reception in the New World reframe our understanding of the relationship between ancient and early modern epic?
- Does the study of the relationship between classical and early modern epic have anything to gain from comparison with non-Western material, e.g., the Indic tradition? More generally, what are the advantages and disadvantages of analysing these traditions in terms of genealogy, ecology (cf. Beecroft), cosmopolitanism (cf. Pollock), or other systemic relationships?
- What light can cross-disciplinary approaches, especially those using computational tools (cf. Coffee and Bernstein) or cognitive models (cf. Jaén and Simon), shed on continuities and disjunctions between ancient and early modern forms of the genre?
- How did the idea of epic change as a genre during the early modern period, in particular given the different transmission histories of classical epics, especially works in ancient Greek? How might the growing attention to neo-Latin literature affect the fields of epic and/or reception studies?
- Are there developments in the aesthetics of a particular period that shed light on goings-on elsewhere? Besides substantial interest in the sublime (Cheney) and the mock-epic (Rawson), recent work has also focused on the quotidian (Grogan). More generally, what comparative understanding of epic can be gleaned from a study of contemporary critics and theorists, e.g., Horace or Tasso?
- What areas of research in early modern epic might benefit from the contributions of classicists without an extensive background in the field, and vice versa? We are committed to creating a congenial and collaborative forum for the infusion of new ideas into classics, and hence welcome abstracts that are exploratory in nature as well as abstracts of latter-stage research. Above all, we aim to show how the field of early modern classical reception can bear on a wide range of literary and cultural study, and to dispel the notion of an intimidating barrier to entry.
Abstracts of no more than 400 words, suitable for a 15-20 minute presentation, should be sent as an email attachment to Pramit Chaudhuri (email@example.com). All persons who submit abstracts must be SCS members in good standing. The abstracts will be judged anonymously: please do not identify yourself in any way on the abstract page.
Proposals must be received by February 19th, 2018.