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Thirty Years of the Jeweled Style

The publication of Michael Roberts’ The Jeweled Style (1989) reshaped the study of late antiquity and has been instrumental in opening late antique poetry as a field. By encouraging scholars to read these works as the product of a unique period, in dialogue with contemporary material art, Roberts spearheaded a broader shift toward serious and sympathetic readings of later (Latin) poetry. In commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of this landmark investigation into late ancient literary aesthetics, we invite proposals that re-examine, refine, or reinterpret Roberts’ original theses. This may include extending analysis across the linguistic divide, to the Greek poets of the later Roman empire, who were outside the scope of the 1989 study, or across the chronological divide, assessing how earlier (e.g. Ovid, Lucan and Statius) or later exponents of an elaborate and rhetorically sensitive literary style should affect our understanding of periodization. If the “jeweled style” is markedly late antique, questions of implementation and adaptation remain. The late antique period witnessed a great diversification of poetic modes (devotional, exegetical, panegyric) and reading publics (regional audiences, orthodox, heterodox, Christian, pagan). Taking Roberts’ work as a point of departure, papers might consider the aesthetics of late antique poetry across genres and communities. Finally, Roberts’ analysis revealed a late ancient tendency to characterize poetic reuse as a kind of adornment. We likewise invite papers that discuss the relationship between reuse, decoration, and other aesthetic, rhetorical, and devotional goals.

This panel will form part of the 2019 meeting of the Society for Classical Studies, to take place between January 3rd and January 6th, 2019. One-page abstracts (ca. 400 words) for papers requiring a maximum of 20 minutes to deliver should be sent by email attachment to no later than Thursday, March 5th, 2018, under the subject line “Thirty Years of the Jeweled Style.” Prospective panelists must be members in good standing of the SCS, but must avoid identifying themselves in the text of their abstracts. All proposals will be judged anonymously. Please follow the SCS guidelines for authors of abstracts at:…; Note that submitting an abstract represents a commitment to attend the meeting, and that travel to the conference must be paid at the presenter’s expense.