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Classics, the Left & the Sublime - 18-19/07/2018, London (England)


This conference addresses the ‘missing’ Marxist/materialist theory of the artistically beautiful. It aims to bring together an interdisciplinary team of philosophers, literary theorists, cultural critics, art historians and classicists to address questions including these: Why has the Left (defined as Marxists/Cultural and Historical Materialists/New Historicists/Postcolonial theorists and some Feminists) evaded concepts of the Beautiful, the Sublime, and cultural/aesthetic Value? Is the ‘labour’ theory of commodity value inadequate to explain the way that markets operate in relation to artworks, whether literary, musical or material? What attempts at producing a theory of cultural value sensitive to cultural relativism, aesthetic subjectivity and class-determination of taste can be identified and how have they been informed by classical concepts in e.g. Homer, Aristophanes, Gorgias, Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Plutarch, Tacitus and Quintilian? Can the debate be pushed much beyond Lukacs, Benjamin, Adorno, Eagleton, Caudwell, Jameson, Bourdieu, and Zizek, none of whom is truly comfortable with talking about art’s aesthetic impact, pleasure, sublimity and transcendence for fear of being identified as Eurocentric and culturally imperialist? What schools of thought and intellectual models from non-literary disciplines might offer promising avenues to illuminate the problem? Cognitive and Neurological Science? Evolutionary Psychology? Most importantly, How could a better ‘Left’ defence of aesthetic excellence and pleasure help make the case for Arts and Humanities as essential to the intellectual health of universities and societies at large? The Left has allowed the Right to hold monopoly ownership of the concepts of Great Art and The World's Best Books for far too long.

FECHA/ DATE/DATA: 18-19/07/2018

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Kings College of London (London, England)


INFO: web -


-Estándar (congreso completo)/standard(full conference)/stantard (conferenza completa): £25

-Reducida (congreso completo)/concessions (full conference)/ concessioni (conferenza completa): £15

-Estándar (un día)/standard(one day)/standard (un giorno): £12.50

-Reducida (un día)/concessions (one day)/ concessioni (un giorno): £7.50


July 18th 1000 Registration & Coffee 1030 WELCOME from Convenors: Tom Geue (St. Andrews), Edith Hall (KCL), Henry Stead (Open University) 1100 John Connor (KCL) ‘Rebellious Breasts': Lindsay, Lysistrata and A Left Defence of Beauty 1145 Marcus Bell (KCL) Goat-Song: The Beauty of the Dancing Body’s Labour 1230 LUNCH 1330 Ralph Rosen (UPenn) Social Class and the ‘Comic Sublime’ 1415 Fran Middleton (Cambridge) Aesthetic Pleasure as Cultural Consumption 1500 Ben Pestell (Essex) Marxist Athenas? – Seeking Legitimate Authority in Transcendent Literature 1545 TEA 1615 Kay Gabriel (Princeton) Satire and Militant Classicism: The Case of Marx’s Capital 1700 Michael Wayne (Brunel) (KEYNOTE) Kant, Aesthetics and the Left 1800 DRINKS RECEPTION FOR ALL DELEGATES 2015 SPEAKERS’ DINNER at Pizza Express July 19th 0915 Richard Alston (RHUL) Royalty, Enlightenment and Contentious Pasts in the Architecture of Ottonian Athens 1000 William Fitzgerald (KCL) Beauty and Boredom: Thoughts on Two Servant-Goddesses (Thorvaldsen's Hebe and Manet's A Bar at the Folies Bergeres). 1045 COFFEE 1115 Siobhan Chomse (RHUL) Once More with Feeling: Tacitus’ Ironic Sublime 1200 Miryana Dimitrova (KCL) Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra-too Sublime for (Post)communist Bulgaria? 1245 LUNCH 1345 Page duBois (UCSD) (KEYNOTE) Red-baiting, the Sublime and the Beautiful 1430 Salvatore Tufano (Rome) Franco Fortini’s A Test of Powers & Posthistoricism 1515 Mathura Umachandran (Princeton)Regarding the Pain of Susan Sontag: Photographing Marsyas 1600 TEA 1630 Martin Devecka (UCSC) The Aporiai of a Lucretian Materialist/Hedonist Approach to the Beautiful 1715 OPTIONAL ROUND TABLE IN A PUBLIC HOUSE

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