Seminar 1: A/Prof Peter Keegan (MQ): The Fasti and the Curious: critiquing critical receptions of Ovid in the 21st century
Leslie Cahoon once noted the degrees of difference in “understandings of the interpretative task ”brought to bear on classical literature in general and the Ovidian corpus in particular. (1) This
apprehension of critical reception should not necessarily surprise the reader of ancient (or modern) texts, but its implications for the continuing appraisal of gender relations, sexuality, and the body are considerable and warrant discussion. To that end, this paper explores the history of praxis underlying different interpretative receptions of canonical narratives, with particular reference to the first two books of Ovid’s Fasti; and the extent to which these variations illuminate or occlude the (con)textualised female figures which often feature as entrées to critical exegesis. Specifically, it is the speaker’s contention that the ways by which Ovid engages in the process of meaning-production regarding l’autre femme are reflected (refracted?) in the interpretative practices of certain modern literary-critical commentators. (2)
1. Cahoon, L., ‘Let the Muse Sing On: Poetry, Criticism, Feminism, and the Case of Ovid’, Helios 17.2 (1991): 197-212, at 202.
2. Barchiesi, A., ‘Discordant Muses’, PCPS 37 (1991): 1-21; Fantham, E., ‘Rewriting and Rereading the Fasti: Augustus, Ovid, and Recent Classical Scholarship’, Antichthon 29: 42-59; Hinds, S.J., The
Metamorphosis of Persephone: Ovid and the Self-Conscious Muse
Seminar 2: Ryan Strickler (PhD candidate, MQ): This Too Shall Pass: Narratives of Deliverance in Seventh-Century Apocalyptic Discourse
For most of the long seventh century, Byzantine subjects found themselves in difficult times. Those on the Eastern limes faced peril on the front lines of the Persian, Avar, and later Arab invasions. The century ended with Byzantines of Syria and Palestine under Arab domination. Even Constantinople failed to guarantee safety, narrowly warding off sieges in 626 by the Avars, and by the Arabs in 674-678. Jewish subjects, after being afforded a modicum of autonomy during the Persian occupation of Jerusalem, found themselves persecuted by the Heraclian dynasty. God’s favour for the Roman Empire, or his chosen people, the Jews, seemed absent. Nevertheless, hope prevailed. Jewish and Christian authors employed apocalyptic discourse to imagine a future in which God would avenge their plight, deliver his people, and restore their lost paradise. While scholars such as Paul Magdalino, Wolfram Brandes, and Andras Kraft have drawn attention to the eschatological aspects of the major apocalypses composed during this period, less attention has been paid to the more immediate restoration of autonomy imagined by Byzantine authors. This paper examines the narratives of deliverance imagined by Jewish and Christian authors of the seventh century. Here we include the restoration of the Roman Empire, final defeat of the Arabs, and material restoration by the “last King of the Greeks” predicted by pseudo-Methodius, and the messianic Jewish kingdoms predicted by Jewish author of the Sefer Zerubbabel.