CFP : The Poetics/Politics of Antiquity in XIXth Century Anglo-American Literature : Revisiting the Canon of the Ancient World

To echo Keats, we like to think that maybe it is not ‘too late for
antique vows’ ! In line with the recent themes of popular exhibitions on
Antiquity, on its ‘innovations and resistances in the eighteenth century’
celebrated by the Louvre from 2 December 2010 to 14 February 2011 or on
ancient science, ‘medicine and health during the Roman period’ revisited
by the Musée Gallo-Romain in Lyon until the 22 April 2012, one of the
aims of this conference is to articulate the aesthetics of Antiquity and
the political/poetical issues at work in nineteenth century British and
American cultures. Our hope is to explore the different uses of ancient
models and to focus on how the role of Antiquity has come to reshape, if
not reinvent, the literary canon in England and America.
With the (British) Romantics comes a new fascination for neo-classical
glory, another form of ‘Grecian grandeur’. It is not just a ruin but the
‘shadow of a magnitude’, a sculpted bird, a song or an urn, unveiling the
two sides of one ekphrastic story and its ancient ‘mirror of art’
(I.Jack). This on-going worship for such a ‘thing of beauty’ as the
Laocoon or the Elgin Marbles will give poets something to write (or
fight) about : on canonizing antique love once again, the work of inspired
readers and travellers anxious to imitate greatness while debating around
of heritage, affiliations, authenticity or displaced ownership.
Despite its geographical and historical remoteness, Antiquity proved to
be particularly relevant to American writers as well, especially during
the revolutionary era and throughout the nineteenth century. Not only was
the Roman Republic a political model, but classical rhetoric and oratory
also informed literary texts. To the American revolutionaries, ‘the
ancient Mediterranean was as vivid and recognizable as the world in which
they were living (E. Shalev)’. Nineteenth-century Americans then showed a
growing interest in Ancient Greece : ‘during the antebellum era, classical
scholars and other educated Americans turned from a love of Rome and a
focus on classical grammar to a new focus on Ancient Greece and the
totality of its society, art and history (C. Winterer)’.

Possible topics :

  •  Art, literature and Hellenism
  •  The poets and/in Greece
  •  Romanticism and Rome
  •  Critical approaches to Antiquity
  •  Ancient mythology and new modes of writing
  •  Aesthetic models used for a social and cultural agenda
  •  The use of Antiquity as a gendered construct/Antiquity and women
  •  Ancient literature/architecture and the pastoral genre
  •  The influence of Antiquity in history, science and politics
  •  The role of Classical (or Ciceronian) rhetoric and oratory in
    Anglo-American fiction (or non-fiction)

    Key note speakers :
    Professor Eran Shalev (University of Haifa, Israel)
    Professor Fiona Stafford, University of Oxford, England

    Date and place : 8-9 November 2012, University Stendhal, Grenoble

    Deadline for proposals and abstracts (300 words) in English : 30 April 2012

    Conference organized by the Centre d’Études sur les Modes de la
    Représentation Anglophone (CEMRA, EA 3016)

    Contacts :

    Scientific committee :
    Marc Amfreville (Université de Paris 4)
    Mathieu Duplay (Université de Paris 7)
    Jean-Marie Fournier (Université de Paris 7)
    Xavier Giudicelli (Université de Reims)
    Philippe Jaworski (Université de Paris 7)
    Jean-Pierre Naugrette (Université de Paris 3)
    Mark Niemeyer (Université de Bourgogne)
    Charlotte Ribeyrol (Université de Paris 4)
    Leslie Eckel (Suffolk University)
    Anastasia Natsina (University of Crete)
    Meiko O’Halloran (Newcastle University)
    Ignacio Ramos Gay (University of Valencia)