I. Conference Papers
- Lowell Edmunds
Critical Divergences: New Directions in the Study and Teaching of Roman Literature
Introduction to seven papers from the conference Critical Divergences: New Directions in the Study and Teaching of Roman Literature, held 24-25 October 2003 at Rutgers University.
- James J. O'Hara
Trying Not To Cheat: Responses to Inconsistencies in Roman Epic
This paper discusses some of the arguments and methods of a forthcoming study of inconsistencies in Roman epic. After description of the shape of that book, the paper moves through some passages and problems in Catullus 64, Lucretius' De rerum natura, Vergil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Lucan's Pharsalia. My central claim is that not all inconsistencies need to be explained or amended away, or faulted, and that some need to be interpreted. Some types of "cheating," or of avoiding reading and interpreting the words in the text in the order in which they appear, are discussed.
- Michèle Lowrie
Inside Out: In Defense of Form
Three case studies show a consistent preoccupation with a similar formal problem within different areas of inquiry. The problem is the relation of inside to outside. The areas are genre criticism, speech act theory, and sovereignty theory. Genre, an external feature of a text, is a topic discussed by Roman poets, who can assert their poetry's power in the world only through poetry. The sovereign, who is subject to the law, also lies outside it in his ability to suspend it. In each case, the power to determine reality and the power to represent it are in competition. The personal voice in this paper responds to Lowell Edmunds' questions about methodology.
- Stephen Hinds
Defamiliarizing Latin Literature, from Petrarch to Pulp Fiction
In line with a growing trend to approach classics of Roman literature as much through their successors as through their antecedents, this essay offers a pair of case-studies in the post-antique reception of Cicero and Ovid. With an eye to the brief of the present volume, each case-study moves towards a crux locatable in the last decade, trying to show that our characteristic ways of interpreting a Latin author are implicated in changing ideas about the so-called "Classical Tradition" inside and outside the academy. The first part of the essay offers snapshots of the "Ciceronian man" from Petrarch to the present day; the second considers a new Ovidianism outside the academy, which has yielded a surprising range of re-readings of the Metamorphoses since the early 1990s.
- Thomas Habinek
Latin Literature between Text and Practice
This paper contains an appeal to situate the study of Latin literature within a history of embodied practices. Art history, anthropology, and cognitive science can all contribute to a decentering of texts and textuality, and texts can be analyzed for their role in the organization of human beings' capacity for mimesis. Latin literature is a case study of the ongoing relationship between embodiment and symbolization.
- Joseph Farrell
Eduard Fraenkel on Horace and Servius, or Texts, Contexts, and the Field of "Latin Studies"
This essay traces the recent trajectory of the field of "Latin Studies" using the example of interpretations of Horace's Carmen saeculare and showing, in particular, the increasingly comprehensive relevance attributed to historical context. It sketches a shift away from formalist interpretation and, to an even greater degree, away from practices, such as textual criticism, that once virtually defined the field.
- Joy Connolly
Border Wars: Literature, Politics, and the Public
Approaching Latin along the border line dividing the academic humanities from public discourse, this essay explores the possibility of articulating a publicly responsible practice of Latin literary studies. I suggest that the current eclecticism in literary studies serves the project of democratic criticism at a time when the traditional raison d'être of the university as the preserver of Euro-American culture is in decline. Next I draw on my current work on the republican tradition in literature and political thought, focusing on translations of Vergil by the 17th-century theorist James Harrington. The study of reception is a crucial part of renewing Latin studies for the new world, I suggest, because it reveals the role of Latin literature in shaping modern conceptions of the political, the aesthetic, and the relation between the two. Concluding, I turn briefly to Cicero, whose blurring of the political and the aesthetic calls into question our habits of thinking about the transition from Republic and Empire.
- Alessandro Barchiesi
Lane-switching and Jughandles in Contemporary Interpretations of Roman Poetry
My paper answers two of the conference organizer's questions: the first, what are you working on, by mentioning some difficulties I am having with my current research, the important related question, how does your approach differ from what it was ten years ago, by discussing some problems of interpretation that demonstrate a need to connect formal and textual with historical and material aspects of Roman culture. My six examples feature (1) the need for interdisciplinary discussion, (2) the significance of an intertextuality that is not demonstrably "causative," (3) the importance of taking seriously "literal" indications such as location and (4) architecture, (5 and 6) the use of deictics and numerology as pointers to, respectively, the economy of patronage and the agenda of Augustan ideology.
- Gwendolyn Compton-Engle
Stolen Cloaks in Aristophanes' Ecclesiazusae
I argue that the cloaks that the women steal from their husbands in Aristophanes' Ecclesiazusae have thematic resonances that extend well beyond their use as part of the women's transvestite disguise. The filching of the cloaks is portrayed as lôpodusia ("mugging") by Blepyrus at lines 535–38. Once he makes this association, the cloaks come to signify not only gender reversal but also the oikos-polis dialectic and socioeconomic issues that are at the play's core. Praxagora capitalizes on these associations as she presents her agenda to Blepyrus. The stolen cloaks thus link the cross-dressing and economic aspects of the play.
- David M. Johnson
Persians As Centaurs in Xenophon's Cyropaedia
Cyrus depends on the traditional virtues of the Persians, but must introduce a new understanding of virtue to make them an imperial people, coupling Median luxury with Persian restraint. The collapse of this unstable combination immediately following Cyrus' death is therefore natural enough. The Cyropaedia is thus a guide both to how to found an empire and to why not to found an empire.