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CALL. 14.08.2017: Doing things with words on stage. Pragmatics and its use in ancient drama - Zurich




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Seminar für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie, University of Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Federica Iurescia ; Severin Hof ; Gunther Martin ; Giada Sorrentino



Keynote address: Luigi Battezzato (Vercelli/Pisa)

Confirmed speakers include: P. Barrios-Lech (Boston), E. van Emde Boas (Oxford), M. Lloyd (Dublin), L. Ricottilli (Verona), R. Raccanelli (Verona), J. Rutger Allan (Amsterdam), L. Unceta Gómez (Madrid)

The Greek word hypokritês and its English counterpart actor, taken together, describe well the active nature of speech in language generally and drama in particular: the characters on stage (and the actors for them) fight and strike deals, they humiliate and elevate—both each other and themselves—, they conceive plans and implement their intrigues, often through words alone. Moreover, by speaking they convey to the audience an idea of their characters, their concerns, and their relations. The study of language in its context-specific use and the analysis of conversation grant access to this dimension of the dramatic text; they permit going beyond the level of what is said and giving relevance of the ways in which it is said.

This conference will explore the pragmatic dimension of Greek and Latin dramatic texts, its use for literary interpretation, and the way it is reflected upon. Its aim is to define the current state of the field, identify future directions of research, and measure the potential of the contribution that pragmatic analysis can bring to the study of ancient drama. We also welcome papers that offer a comparative perspective with modern drama.

Papers might engage with (but are not limited to) the following issues:



Speech acts

Pragmatic aspects of characterisation

Pragmatics of communication


Ancient and modern views of pragmatic issues

Cognitive aspects of pragmatics


Pragmatic analysis and drama: fields of application and limits

The pragmatics of oral and written texts

Papers should be 30 minutes in length (followed by 15 minutes discussion) and can be presented in German, English, Italian, or French.

Abstracts of up to 300 words should be submitted as Word doc or PDF formats by 14 August 2017 to:

The conference aims at publishing a selection of papers in a peer-reviewed edition.

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