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Vergilian Society 2023

Vergilian Society

AIA/SCS 2023

“Green Vergil: Nature and the Environment in Vergil and the Vergilian Tradition”

The role of nature in Vergil’s poetry has always attracted the attention of scholars. From the pastoral landscapes of the Eclogues, to the farmlands of the Georgics, and the various lands the Aeneid inhabits, the importance of nature in Vergil’s oeuvre is undeniable. In the last few decades, a new theoretical framework has emerged, known as ecocriticism, prompting us to examine afresh the relationship between literature and the physical environment. A branch of this critical approach embraces a political stance that opposes the effects of global capitalism on the environment and the ethics surrounding it (Glotfelty and Fromm 1996), while another is interested in studying the various links between nature and literature more generally (Buell 2005). A truly interdisciplinary perspective, this theory has already generated a variety of related fields, such as eco-feminism, eco-linguistics, eco-philosophy, among others.

Closer to home, Christopher Schliephake’s 2017 collection of essays has demonstrated the value of this framework for studying ancient literary texts, including Vergil, while Armstrong’s 2019 book, Vergil’s Green Thoughts, demonstrates one possible path such an approach may take.

This panel aims to probe the interpretative possibilities of ecocriticism for Vergil’s work and the Vergilian tradition more generally, in order to both understand these texts better and illuminate their relevance for today’s ecological debates. Possible topics may include (but need not be limited to) the relationship between landscape and poetry, environment and politics, the aesthetics of nature, the ethics involved in human-nature interactions, the role of botany and plant life, the aesthetic or emotional idealization of rustic life, or the relationship of paintings, art objects, and architecture to fictionalized representations of the natural world.

Abstracts for papers should be submitted electronically as either PDF or MSWORD documents by February 11, 2022 to Vassiliki Panoussi (panoussi@wm.edu), preferably with the subject heading “abstract_ SCS2023.” The abstracts will be judged anonymously and so should not reveal the author’s name, but the email should provide name, abstract title, and affiliation.  Abstracts should be 500 words or fewer and should follow the guidelines for individual abstracts (https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/guidelines-authors-abstracts), except that works cited should be put at the end of the document, not in a separate text box. 

Works Cited

Armstrong, R. (2019). Vergil's Green Thoughts: Plants, Humans, and the Divine. Oxford University Press.

Buell, L. (2005). The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination (Ser. Blackwell manifestos). Blackwell.

Glotfelty, C. and H. Fromm, eds. (1996).  The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. University of Georgia.

Schliephake, C. ed (2017). Ecocriticism, Ecology, and The Cultures of Antiquity. (Ser. Ecocritical theory and practice). Lexington Books.

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