Technepopoiia: between Greek technical poetry and treatises in verse

Call for papers

Although dramatic, lyric, and narrative epic poetry have always been prominent within the main view of what Greek poetry is about, many works do not fit easily within these categories. The poetry of Aratus, the pharmacological poems of Nicander, the elegy of Andromachus, the Oppians’ poems on hunting, fishing and animal wildlife, the geographical poetry of Dionysius of Alexandria: these texts operate on the cusp of art and technicalities, of literature and the preservation and presentation of knowledge. Whereas traditionally they have been labelled didactic poetry, following in the tradition of Hesiod, this didactic frame is only part of what characterises these texts. They challenge traditional ideas about what good poetry should look like, and invite us to think about the distinction between poets venturing into technical subject and specialists expressing themselves in verse. Is poetry merely a convenient vehicle for the preservation of knowledge, or does art serve a more aesthetic purpose? 

This conference, to be held in Soeterbeeck on 12 July 2018 (Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands) aims to approach such technical poetry from different viewpoints: as art and as expression of knowledge.

We are particularly interested in scholars working on medical verse (Nicander, Numenius, Andromachus, Marcellus, Damocrates, Carmen de viribus), geographical poetry (Dionysius Periegetes, ps.-Scymnus), astronomical epic (Aratus, ps.-Manetho), poetry on fishing and hunting (the Oppians), the Lithica, and contiguous poems (didactic or technical epigrams, poetry on math etc.).

Questions that may be relevant:

  • is the label ‘didactic poetry’ suitable for all these diverging poems?
  • was presentation in verse aimed at popularizing (contemporary) science?
  • what is the relation between learning, leisure and pleasure as expressed or suggested by these poems?
  • what sort of contexts can we imagine for the presentation of such technical poetry?
  • what is the relation between e.g. medical poetry and medical prose?
  • what is the relation between formal aspects (framing, metre, generic conventions) and contents?
  • to what extent can one distinguish between between scholars writing poetry and poets presenting technical or scholarly knowledge?

Those interested in presenting a paper of ca. 30 minutes are invited to submit a short abstract (with title) of 250 words before 10 May 2018.

This conference is is made possible by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Accommodation is covered; full or partial funding of travel costs is negotiable depending on availability of resources. For further information please contact Floris Overduin (f.overduin@let.ru.nl).

Dr. Floris Overduin

Universitair Docent Oudgrieks

Griekse en Latijnse Taal en Cultuur (GLTC)

Radboud Universiteit – Faculteit der Letteren

Erasmusplein 1, kamer E 5.20

Postbus 9103

NL-6500 HD Nijmegen

+ 31 (0)24 –361 6056

f.overduin@let.ru.nl

radboud.academia.edu/FlorisOverduin

 


Auteur : Christophe Cusset

Ancien élève de l'ENS Fontenay/ Saint-Cloud. Agrégé de Lettres classiques. Docteur ès Lettres (Université Lyon II). Professeur de littérature grecque à l'ENS de Lyon.

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