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'A Quest for Remembrance': The Descent into the Classical Underworld"- 20/05/2017, Warw


Katabasis, the descent into the underworld, is an often literary genre whose earliest examples go back to classical antiquity, including the epics of Mesopotamia, ancient Greece and Rome. Since Rachel Falconer's influential Hell in Contemporary Literature (2007), examining katabatic themes has become a popular strand of research. However, particularly in the 20th century, the descent to the underworld has been engaged with in a number of different art forms, such as the epic of Derek Walcott, the poetry of Eavan Boland, and the paintings of Romare Bearden. This conference aims to provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the potential uses of katabasis and its relationship to memory, encapsulating methodological approaches from departments as varied as Literature, Philosophy, History, Classics, and History of Art. Within recent years, more and more scholars have recognised the importance of memory for analysing the structures and themes in both ancient descent narratives and their adaptations. During the conference, the discussions will thus revolve around the various roles of memory in ancient katabatic tales and answer the question of how and why these roles are adapted in later re-tellings of those narratives. Therein, a pivotal aim is to re-evaluate Rachel Falconer's claim that the descent narrative is an inherently 'memorious' genre.

As a further outcome of the conference, I wish to submit a book proposal for an edited volume on katabasis with articles that provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the overlapping concerns of classical reception and memory studies in the reception of ancient tropes. This publication will be one of the first to recognise this overlap in methodological concerns and to initiate a discussion from a variety of departments on the potential of considering classical themes and tropes for the analysis of memory, as well as the potential of memory studies for the analysis of classical reception.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 20/05/2017

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Warwick (Coventry, England)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Madeleine Scherer (Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick)

INFO: web -

INSCRIPCIÓN/REGISTRATION/REGISTRAZIONE: Gratis/free/gratuito. Deadline: 15/04/2017



09:45-10:15 Registration and Coffee (Zeeman Foyer)

10:15-10:30 Welcome and Introduction (MS.04)

10:30-11:45 (Parallel Sessions)Session 1: Adaptations and Refractions: Myth in Modernity (MS.04) Chair: TBC 1. Dr. Olga Siletskaya: “The transformation of the idea of Katabasis in the literature of the 19th- 20th century” (Moscow State University)

2. Agata Mikołajko: “The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice- Exemplification of Modern Refractions” (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University) 3. Dr. Jakub Jurkowski: “The katabatic Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in 20th century Poetry” (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University)

Session 2: The Katabasis into a Christian Hell (MS.05) Chair: Dr. John Gilmore 1. Chloe Owen: “'Unto the kingdom of perpetual night': Sleep Paralysis, Hallucinations, and the Underworld in Richard III and Hamlet” (King's College London)

2. Daisy Butcher: “The feminine and the underworld: representations of vagina dentata in Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno” (University of Hertfordshire) 3. Prof. Eric Brown: “The Erotics of Milton's Hell” (University of Maine)

11:45-12:00Tea and Coffee (Zeeman Foyer)

12:00- 13:00Keynote Lecture (MS.04): Laughter across the Acheron: some aspects of comic Katabasis Prof. Edith Hall (King's College London)

13:00-14:00Lunch (Zeeman Foyer)

14:00-15:15 (Parallel Sessions) Session 3: Katabasis Narratives and Civil Unrest (MS.04) Chair: Dr. Victoria Rimell 1. Prof. Eleonora Tola: “Pharsalus' Underworld: (Re)constructive Memory in in Lucan's Civil War Narrative” (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba)

2. Dr. Karageorgou-Bastea: “A Season in Hades. The Search for Poetic Justice in Poesida by Abigael Bohórquez” (Vanderbilt University) 3. Dr. Elena Deanda: “Hell is Over: Dissidence and Anarchy in Colonial Mexican Folksongs” (Washington College)

Session 4: Heroic Memory and Hobbits: Adaptations of Katabasis Narratives in Popular Culture (MS.05) Chair: Dr. Owen Weetch 1. Romain Vimal du Monteil: “The way is shut. It was made by those who are dead and the dead keep it: Journey into J.R.R. Tolkien's underworlds” (École Normale Supérieure de Cachan)

2. Dr. Frances Foster: “Two narratives of Katabasis and the quest for being remembered.” (University of Cambridge)

3. Gavin Davies: “Death Meta: Nostalgia and the Underworld In Doom (2016)” (Swansea University)

15:15- 15:30

Tea and Coffee (Zeeman Foyer)

15:30- 17:05 (Parallel Sessions) Session 5: Consciousness, Subjectivity, and the Wisdom Tradition in 19th and 20th century Katabasis Narratives (MS.04) Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Barry 1. Dr. Maciej Jaworski: A Quest for Forgetting: Orphean Katabasis according to Herbert and Miłosz" (University of Warsaw)

2. Karen Borg Cardona: “The Wisdom Tradition in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” (University of Warwick)

3. Dr. Yi-Chuang: “'By My Voice I Shall Be Known': T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and the Voices of the Dead” (National Tsing Hua University)

4. Matthew Rumbold: “Russell Hoban's Orpheus: the mythopoetic vision in Kleinzeit” (Warwick University)

Session 6: Deathscapes in Antiquity (MS.05) Chair: Dr. David Fearn 1. Prof. A. Everett Beek: “The Open Door to Elysium” (University of Minnesota)

2. Alessando Boschi: “Condemned to oblivion in Hades: some considerations on the Pirithous attributed to Critias.” (Università di Pisa)

3. Joel Gordon: “Remembering the real world: katabatic narratives and nekuomanteia, plutonia and charonia” (University of Otago)

4. Jessica Lightfoot: “Raising Verbal Ghosts: Plato and the Communicative Space of Homer's Nekyia” (University of Oxford)

17:05- 17:30Closing Remarks and Discussion (MS.04)

17:30- 18:30Wine Reception (Zeeman Foyer)

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