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CALL. 30.10.2019: Between γελοῖον and σπουδαῖον: Comic Traces on the Tragic Scene - Cassino (Italy)




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Department of Letters and Philosophy, University of Cassino and Lazio Meridionale (Cassino, Italy)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Silvia Onori (Cassino e L.M.); Luigi Di Raimo (Cassino e L.M.); Enzo Franchini (Cassino e L.M.); Luca Austa (Siena); Giorgia Giaccardi (Torino).

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Starting from the well-known definition of tragedy offered by Aristotle, (Poet. 1449b, 24-28), ἔστιν οὖν τραγῳδία μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας καὶ τελείας, according to which «A tragedy, then, is the imitation of an action that is serious and complete in itself», the conference ‘Between γελοῖον and σπουδαῖον: Comic Traces on the Tragic Stage’ proposes to examine and to discuss how and for what purpose comic implications may manifeste on the tragic scene. According to Seidensticker’s distinction (see B. Seidensticker,Comic Elements in Euripides’ Bacchae, «AJPh» 99, 1978, pp. 303-320; B. Seidensticker, Palintonos Harmonia. Studien zu komischen Elementen in der griechischen Tragödien, Göttingen 1982) two different forms of comic can be traced on the tragic stage: the ‘elements of comedy’ and ‘the comic elements’. The former stands for structural forms, characters, dramatic situations, themes and story patterns which can be considered typical of the comic genre. Such elements are not necessarily comic when part of the tragic texture. In contrast, the latter is taken as a general term of the laughable (γελοῖον) to define or to distinguish scenes, motifs and expressions of humorous tone, that connect comic ways of speaking and comic ways of acting.

According to this distinction, can we hypothesize that Greek tragedy has destined a space, although occasional and temporary, to comic, or thinking about the comic on the tragic scene is incompatible with the context of the tragedy (ritual, genre, event)? What more can we say about comic interferences in Greek tragedy? Could Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides’ tragedies caused the audiences to laugh or smile? Are comic effects connected to specific types of tragic characters that emerge from some linguistic and stylistic expressions or are revealed through particular performances? Are there specific tragic sections where the comic implications come to light more frequently? Could a motif that appears comic to a modern sensibility can have had the same effect on a spectator of the 5th century B. C.?

During the conference days we will examine, discuss and seek to answer to these questions following the guidelines listed below.

Topics of discussion

The conference will accept papers concerning the following research fields:

· Comic implications in tragic characters: use of the comic-ridiculous effect about specific types of characters on the tragic scene.

· Comic traces in linguistic and stylistic expressions: comic interferences in the language and style of the tragic poets.

· Comic look: particular perfomances of the comic-humorous aspects in Greek tragedy.

· Comic intrusions in some tragic scenes: presence and purpose of comic elements in particular sections of the tragic plot.

· Comic echoes and tragic texture: modalities and aims of the use of comic motifs by the tragic poets.

· Comic effects on the audience: reactions of the spectators to tragic scenes with a comical tone according to the ancient exegesis.

Submission process

Those who wish to present at the conference as speakers must submit the following documents (as PDFs only) to no later than 30 October, 2019:

· An anonymous abstract (max. 300 words) of the proposed paper written in Italian or in English; in case of a collective panel (max. 3 papers) all abstracts must be attached as a single document along with a brief introduction;

· A brief curriculum vitae et studiorum which underlines University affiliation, degrees and relavant publications.

The proposals will be selected by the Scientific Commitee based on quality and relevance to the conference. Candidates will be informed about the outcome of the proposals by December 20.

Presentations of accepted papers will be 20/25 minutes long and will be followed by a discussion. A partecipation certificate can be delivered to the speakers. Proceeding the conference and after a blind peer-review process, the written versions of the papers will be published.

Conference Fees

There is not a fee to attend the conference. All attendees will be provided with the necessary educational material (e.g. handouts, stationery). Lunch will be provided for the speakers. It is not possible to ensure other forms of refund. The organisation will provide details on possible accommodations at reasonable prices.

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