At a time when such concepts as ‘Great Books’, ‘Core Curriculum’, and ‘Western Canon’ are at the center of the academic debate in the US and beyond, this conference aims at re-evaluating one of the main literary-historical processes that led to the formation of Liberal Arts education as we know it today. In fact, considering the thriving growth of scholarly work in the fields of Classical Tradition and Neo-Latin Studies, we think that the time is ripe for a comprehensive reappraisal of the construction of a Classical canon of literature during the age of Humanism and Renaissance in Italy and elsewhere.
When, how, why, in what forms and in which contexts does the idea of a ‘canon’ emerge? What criteria lead to the inclusion of certain works and authors into the canon, and to the exclusion of others? How, and to what extent, do different Renaissance humanists perceive the construction of a literary canon in different ways? Which intellectuals appear to be more concerned with it? Which ones seem to resist it? How does the emergence of an ancient canon interact with the urge for bestowing a similar ‘authority’ on some later and contemporaneous authors? Which Renaissance models of ‘canon’ are still influencing our idea of education in the Humanities?
The purpose of our conference is to display the latest historical and philological research on the topic and to discuss further directions for study. Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:
- the creation of a Classical canon as an instrument of self-definition in the humanists' hands
- the emergence of a ‘modern’ canon (e.g. Italy's ‘Three Crowns’) along with the Classical one
- different canons of ancient literature across different genres
- the development of Neo-Latin literature in the Renaissance, and the Western re-discovery of ancient Greek
- the role of education in the formation of a new image of the Classical tradition
- the relationship between the construction of a literary canon in the Renaissance and comparable operations in antiquity (e.g. Quintilian's literary history)
- the role of the idea of ‘canon’ in extra-literary domains (e.g. geography, natural science, etc.)
LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Harvard University (Boston, USA)
ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Eloisa Morra (PhD Candidate in Italian Literature, Harvard University); Marco Romani Mistretta (PhD Candidate in Classical Philology, Harvard University).