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CALL. 31.01.2017: [PANEL 7 at 10th CCC] "Epic and Elegy" - Montreal (Canada)




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Montreal (Montreal, Canada) ; McGill University (Montreal, Canada)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Micah Myers (Kenyon College) ; Bill Gladhill (McGill University) ; Alison Keith (University of Toronto); Nandini Pandey (University of Wisconsin).

INFO: web -


This panel welcomes new approaches to the long, fruitful, and contentious relationship between the epic and elegiac genres, in Greek and Latin poetry and in the classical tradition. Domitius Marsus rehearses conventions about the relationship between epic and elegy as well as some of the ways that those conventions may be defied in his epigram on Tibullus’ death (fr. 7 Courtney): Te quoque Vergilio comitem non aequa, Tibulle, mors iuvenem campos misit ad Elysios ne foret aut elegis molles qui fleret amores aut caneret forti regia bella pede. The verses pair the deaths of Vergil and Tibullus, making the poets companions in the Elysian Fields and claiming with traditional hyperbole that the demise of each poet brings an end to their respective genres. Tibullus is linked to elegy, the “bewailing of soft loves.” Vergil is connected with epic, fortis in meter and content where elegy is soft. Yet in a flourish that evokes the tensions between the genres elsewhere, the description of elegy is in a hexameter line and epic in a pentameter. Moreover, Marsus’ dichotomy between elegy as “bewailing soft loves” and epic as “singing of kingly wars” both epitomizes each genre and also undercuts itself, since epic from its origins encompasses both themes: witness Achilles weeping over Patroclus or the funeral lamentations that close the Iliad. The goal of this panel is to interrogate and contextualize further the relationship between epic and elegy, a relationship whose terms have often been defined by Callimachean aesthetics, the recusationes of Roman elegy and lyric, and genre mixing. Engagements between epic and elegy, however, are also evolutionary and intertwined with specific cultural and historical contexts that can be traced from Homer to the present. The panel invites reconsiderations of this intergeneric relationship within and across linguistic and cultural traditions from antiquity to the modern period, and investigations that reframe the question in order to think about not only how epic responds to elegy and elegy to epic, but also how these genres allow audiences to filter their worldviews in new ways. Papers are invited on topics including (but not limited to): - How did ancient writers understand epic's relationship to elegy? Was elegy “always already” secondary to or implicit in epic? Or can elegy serve as a governing or correcting force upon epic? - How and why did later authors tease out elegiac modes and themes found in early Greek epic and elegy? - How do different elegiac poets utilize the epic tradition, and likewise, how do epic poets respond to the elegiac pull? - What is the role of lyric poetry (especially Horace) in negotiating the interplay between epic and elegy? - What do shifting generic stances between epic and elegy say about the social and cultural contexts in which poems were produced? - In what ways do didactic epic and other hexameter poetry reframe elegiac poetics and invite new ways of assessing epic and elegy? - How do authors like Vergil, Ovid, and Statius in their various poetic productions filter Greek epic through Roman elegy and elegiac thematics? - How do elegy and epic conceptualize time and its passage differently? How might these genres’ different visions of history be ironized or conflated by historical events? - How do scholiasts and commentators interpret and evaluate the linkages between epic and elegy? - How do poets’ biographies or the paratexts surrounding their works affect the generic discourse and audiences’ subsequent reception of these works? - How do authors such as Dante, Ariosto, Pontano, Chaucer, Milton, and Melville (to gesture to a few) respond to ancient entanglements between epic and elegy? The 10th Celtic Conference in Classics will take place in Montreal, Canada from 19-22 July, 2017. The Conference provides panels with up to 15 hours of papers and discussion across three days. For this panel we are asking for papers of 35-40 minutes in length, with 10-15 minutes for questions and discussion, but shorter papers (20+10) are also welcome. Please submit titles and abstracts of approximately 300 words to by 31 January, 2017. Applicants will be notified of the panel’s decision shortly thereafter. The languages of the Celtic Conference in Classics are English and French.

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