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CALL. 01.05.2019: Time, Tense and Genre in Ancient Greek Literature - London (England)




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Classics Department at King’s College London (London, England)


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Offers of papers are invited for a conference in the Classics Department at King’s College London on 12th and 13th September 2019. It will be convened by Edith Hall and Connie Bloomfield in the college’s Anatomy Museum. The title is Time, Tense and Genre in Ancient Greek Literature. The intention is to deepen our understanding of the distinctive temporal dimensions of written documents in ancient Greek, of whatever genre, provenance, authorship and date. Confirmed keynote lectures will be delivered by Dr Katherine Harloe and Professor Felix Budelmann.

The conference is a response to increasing interest in the evocation of time in classical literature under the influence of Aristotle’s discussion of the temporal modes in which different varieties of speech operate in the Rhetoric, Suzanne Langer’s Feeling and Form: a Theory of Art (1953) and especially Mikhail Bakhtin’s argument that genres are ways of being in time.

Questions that might be addressed are these: Can we helpfully think of ancient genres as operating within certain tenses? What kind of ‘presents’ are/are not used and shared by lyric and comedy, encomium and epistle? How do authors periodise mythical time, for example the tendency of satyr play to reach back beyond the myths of Troy, Argos and Thebes to the world of Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns, the birth of gods and the creation of civilization? What techniques and effects are created by the inclusion of prophetic and oracular voices and perspectives in envisioning the future, or ghosts to articulate voices from the past? How do discrete genres address the future and use future tenses, performatively, deliberatively or potentially? What is the effect of present-tense narrative and dialogue in texts ostensibly set in the past? How has our understanding of the Greek aorist and perfect tenses been affected by advances in literary theory such as narratology? How did the Greeks think about the different relation to time inherent in visual and textual media? How have the sophistication of Greek thinking about time, and availability of complex tense modes contributed to the creation and projection of a ‘classical tradition’?

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to by May 1st 2019.

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