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CALL. 29/11/2015: HIPPONAX: A One-day Colloquium - Oxford (England)



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Corpus Christi College (Oxford, England)


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Hipponax is a key exponent of the problematic genre that is iambos and his work exerted a strong influence on later authors, most notably in Hellenistic but also in Latin literature. Yet our understanding of him as a poet in his own right is surprisingly limited. Indeed, appropriations of his poetry by later authors are more extensively studied—and, somewhat paradoxically, better understood—than Hipponax' poetry itself. This state of affairs is no doubt owed in part to the fact that his corpus has reached us in tatters, and that textual difficulties are compounded by linguistic complexities. Hipponax’ poetry sounds the lowest registers of iambic language, taking in epic parody, magical incantation, and foreign or pidgin terms along the way. In other respects too, the poetry of Hipponax seems to combine extremes in a discomfiting manner: ritual background with 'literary' playfulness, marked fictionality with gritty, bodily, 'realism', high social class with low. All of this contributes to form an overall impression of the corpus as arrestingly unlike that of any other poet of the period: Hipponax’ poetry has proven particularly hard to make sense of and contextualise. Now is a good time to focus attention on Hipponax. Much work has been done in recent years on iambos, on methodologies for working with fragmentary texts, on fictionality, on cross-linguistic interactions, to name but a few key areas. The questions posed in an especially acute form by Hipponax’ poetry are among the most pressing for classical literary scholarship today: issues surrounding performance and performance context; the poetry’s social function and the conjuring up of real or fictitious social scenarios; its relation to ritual and the public sphere or, conversely, its character as a more or less exclusive literary jeu d’esprit; questions of methodology in making sense of poorly preserved genres; inter-cultural borrowing and relations with non-Greek traditions; interaction with sub-literary genres, parody of higher genres, and other forms of generic playfulness; the display of poetic self-consciousness of a kind which we tend to resist ascribing to the poetry of this early period. This colloquium seeks to mark a step change in our understanding of Hipponax as poet and of his place in Greek literary history. We welcome proposals for papers of roughly 30 minutes in length (to be followed by 15 minutes discussion). We recommend an emphasis on furthering an understanding of Hipponax’ own poetry rather than later appropriations of it, but comparative approaches which illuminate Hipponax’ poetics are welcomed.

Abstracts of no more than a page should please be sent as anonymised pdf or word documents to no later than 29th November.

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