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Faces of the Infinite: Neoplatonism and Poetics at the Confluence of Africa, Asia and Europe- 09-10-

The conference is intended to generate the first comparative overview of the extent to which Neoplatonist philosophy has permeated poetic forms, styles, themes and figurative language as well as poetic theory in seven principal languages of the greater Mediterranean region, from late antiquity to the modern period. Listed in alphabetical order, they are Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Persian, Spanish and Turkish. The findings are intended to result in a major publication which will shed light on the significance of Neoplatonism as a cross-cultural phenomenon which links the literary traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 09-10-11/11/2017


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: The British Academy (London, England)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Professor Stefan Sperl, SOAS,( University of London) ; Professor Trevor Dadson (FBA, Queen Mary University of London) ; Dr Yorgos Dedes, (SOAS, University of London)


INFO: web


INSCRIPCIÓN/REGISTRATION/REGISTRAZIONE: online


PROGRAMA/PROGRAM/PROGRAMMA:



Thursday, 9 November 2017

09.00 Registration and refreshments

Session One: From Greek Beginnings to Arabic and Hebrew To examine the beginnings of Neoplatonist poetics in Greek and its emergence in Arabic and Hebrew

Chairs: Stefan Sperl, SOAS, University of London and Trevor Dadson, Queen Mary, University of London

09.15 Introduction: Background, Scope and Aim of Conference

09.40 Keynote Address Richard Taylor, Marquette University

11.00 Are Neoplatonists Neoplatonic in their Poetics? Alexander Matthew Key, Stanford University

11.45 Andalusian Hebrew Poems on the Soul and their Afterlife Adena Tanenbaum, Ohio State University 12.30 Lunch


Session Two: The Ascent of the Soul To compare and contrast the portrayal of the soul’s ascent in texts of different linguistic and religious provenance

Chair: Ziad Elmarsafy, King’s College London

13.30 Neoplatonist Concepts in 13th Century Arabic Mystical Poetry Stefan Sperl, SOAS, University of London

14.15 « Let us fly from the forms of beauty to the Creator of all beauty » : Neo‐ Platonic themes in the poetic works of ‘Abderrhamân Jâmî Leili Anvar, INALCO, Paris

15.00 Refreshments


15.30 Nostro intelletto si profonda tanto. Paradiso, I 8 and its Philosophical Background Cristina d’Ancona, University of Pisa 1

6.15 The Ascent of the Soul: Neo‐Platonic Themes in the Literature of the Golden Age of Spain Colin Thompson, University of Oxford

17.00 Close of first day


Friday, 10 November 2017

Session Three: from Late Antiquity to Byzantium and the Ottoman World To illustrate continuity and change in the poetic reception of Platonist concepts in the Eastern Mediterranean from Late Antiquity to Ottoman times Chair: James Binns, University of York

09.00 Hymn of the Pearl and Chaldaean Oracles: Platonism on the Border between Monism and Dualism, Imperial Centuries and Late Antiquity, Greek and Syriac Johannes Niehoff‐Panagiotidis, Freie Universität Berlin 09.45 Neoplatonism and Poetics in Late Antique and Byzantine Literature David Hernández de la Fuente, Universidad Nactional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid

10.30 Refreshments


11.00 ‘A Soul, Splendid by the Glory of God’: Karaite Poems about the Nature of the Soul from the Muslim East and Byzantium Joachim Yeshaya, University of Leuven

11.45 Ottoman Poetry: Where the Neoplatonic Dissolves into an Emotional Script for Life. Walter Andrews, University of Washington ‐ Paper to be presented by Mehmet Kalpaklı, Bilkent University, Ankara

12.30 Lunch


Session Four: Neoplatonism and Gender Identity in Early Modern Love Lyric To illustrate and compare relevant examples of 16th century Italian, Spanish and English verse Chair: Peter Robinson, University of Reading

13.30 Neoplatonic Discourse and Ottoman Women Poets: Negotiation, Legitimation and Subversion Didem Havlioğlu, Duke University

14.15 Beyond the Courts: Neoplatonism in Sixteenth‐Century Italian Poetic Culture Abigail Brundin, University of Cambridge

15.00 Refreshments


15.30 Italian Neoplatonism and Sixteenth‐Century English Verse John Roe, University of York

16.15 Negotiating Difference: Neoplatonism and the Discourse of Desire in the Early Modern Spanish Love Lyric Julian Weiss, King’s College, University of London

17.00 Close of second day


Saturday, 11 November 2017 (Please note that this third day is being held at SOAS and that separate registration is required)

9.30 Registration


Session Five: Neoplatonist Poetics and Mysticism in Spain and the Indo‐ Persian world To examine mystical concepts of possible Neoplatonist provenance in the works of major poets writing in Persian and Spanish Chair: Alessandro Cancian, Ismaili Institute, London

10.00 Poetry and Ishraqi Illuminationism among the Esoteric Zoroastrians of Mughal India Carl W Ernst, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

10.45 Neoplatonic and Sufi Approaches to Beauty: The Cases of Plotinus and Rūzbihān Baqlī Kazuyo Murata, King’s College, University of London

11.30 Refreshments


12.00 The Christian Neoplatonism of Francisco de Aldana in the Carta para Arias Montano Terence O’Reilly, University College, Cork

12.45 La erótica del infinito: Neoplatonismo, Cábala y Sufismo en la obra de José Ángel Valente Claudio Rodríguez Fer, University of Santiago de Compostela

13.30 Lunch


Session Six: Modern Echoes in Persian, Turkish, Arabic and Greek To illustrate the persistence of Neoplatonic themes in selected examples of modern poetry Chair: Yorgos Dedes, SOAS, University of London

14.30 Neoplatonist Relics in Modern Persian Poetry Ahmad Karimi‐Hakkak, University of Maryland

15.15 The New Image of the Beloved in the Old Mirror: Reflections of Neoplatonic Tradition in Modern Turkish Poetry Mehmet Kalpaklı & Neslihan Demirkol, Bilkent University, Ankara and Ankara Social Sciences University 16.00 Refreshments


16.30 Neoplatonist Echoes in Modern Arabic Poetry: The Case of Ahmad Matar Feryal Ghazoul, The American University in Cairo

17.15 Neo‐Platonists in Modern Greek Poetry David Ricks, King’s College, University of London

18.00 Conclusion and Summing Up Stefan Sperl, SOAS, University of London, Trevor Dadson FBA, Queen Mary University of London and Yorgos Dedes, SOAS, University of London

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