Dean of the College presents
Candidate for the Position in Classics
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Nymphs in the Night Performance, Myth and the Transformation of Tradition in Virgil, Aeneid 10
Roman poetry of the Augustan period is full of evocations of Greek song culture. How does such poetry create imagined worlds of performance? How do responses to tradition generate new literary experiences? I address these questions by focusing on a pivotal but underappreciated narrative moment in Virgil’s Aeneid when Aeneas encounters a group of sea nymphs who urge him on to war. The scene recalls and reconfigures a particular constellation of Greek mythic and performance traditions related to choral song and dance. It does so, moreover, while dramatizing the invention of Roman ritual practice. I propose, then, that in Virgil’s narrative, epic gains foundational power from its appropriation of Greek performance culture.
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Location: Olin 204
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