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CALL. 09.03.2020: [PANEL 2] "Poeticis magis decora?" Latin Prose and the Limits of Interte





ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Scott J. DiGiulio (Mississippi State University); Dominic Machado (College of the Holy Cross)

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Traditional studies of the aesthetic sophistication of Latin literature have tended to focus on poetry, with prose works relegated to a secondary status. However, since the pioneering work of Wiseman (1979) and Woodman (1988), scholarship on Latin prose, especially historiography, has seen significant broadening in its theoretical outlook. As more texts have been exposed to the lenses of intertextuality, narratology, and other approaches, scholarly appreciation of the artistry underlying prose literature has continued to develop, and there are a growing number of scholars eager to study Roman prose works as part of a broader literary enterprise with distinct aesthetic concerns that overlap in crucial ways with poetry and other forms of high literature.

Building upon innovative work from the last decade (e.g. Marchesi 2007; O’Gorman 2009; Marincola 2010; Joseph 2012; Baraz and van den Berg 2013; van den Berg 2014; Whitton 2019), this panel aims to advance this conversation and to elaborate upon the growing appreciation of this body of literature by investigating the theoretical and textual possibilities of Latin prose. As such, this panel seeks to identify models that afford us a richer understanding of how Latin prose functions as an artistic medium, while also exploring understudied and fragmentary texts whose aesthetics have received limited scholarly attention. More broadly, we will consider whether we can speak of Latin “prosaics” as we do of Latin “poetics” or if we can claim that Latin prose has its own distinct aesthetic rules.

By bringing together scholars working on Roman prose from the Republic through the Empire, we aim to explore new approaches to canonical texts, and to emphasize the place of texts that have been traditionally considered outside of the scope of the literary canon. We welcome papers addressing some of the following questions:

  • In what ways does intertextuality work to destabilize our expectations and understandings of prose texts within and beyond their narratives?

  • How do transgeneric connections between prose texts manifest? Does it differ from allusion in other genres?

  • Can intratextual references across works and genres within a single author’s oeuvre illuminate the aesthetics of their prose?

  • A significant number of Roman prose authors, including Cicero and Pliny the Younger among others, also wrote poetry; to what extent do the prose works of such authors demonstrate poetic tendencies?

  • Do different prose genres require different models of intertextuality?

  • How do these approaches influence the ways in which we understand compilatory texts, and by extension the fragmentary texts that they compile? Is a different model of intertextual study required in these cases?

  • How do newly revised fragmentary corpora, such as the FRHist and the FRRO, challenge our understandings of the limits of intertextuality?

We invite abstracts for papers of approximately 35 minutes in length, to be followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Papers in both English and French are welcome. Please submit abstracts of no more than 500 words and a CV to both and by Monday, March 9, 2020.

We aim to send notification of acceptance no later than the end of March. For further information, please contact either of the panel organizers.

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