CfP From Song To Book: Performance and Entextualisation in Ancient Greek Literature and Beyond, UCL, 29 June-1 July 2016

CfP: From Song To Book: Performance and Entextualisation in Ancient Greek Literature and Beyond

University College London, 29th June – 1st July 2016
Organisers: Peter Agócs & Naomi Scott

Deadline: 31 January 2016
The last decades have transformed the way we look at Classical Greek poetry and prose. No longer simply a corpus of autonomous texts to be read and analysed, we have come to view literature and its genres as performances embedded in social space, and with a concrete social or ritual function.  But this in turn has meant that our understanding of ancient textuality — what texts meant, how they were transmitted and used, how they functioned, and the nature and power of authorial voice, and its relation to other textual voices — has also been transformed. Entextualisation is increasingly understood not as a single process, but rather a variety of different ones with specific social aims and consequences; and performance studies has introduced new ways of understanding how different texts and genres construct a speaking voice.  The cultural construction of textuality itself has come into focus in criticism, as has the idea of an easy transition from ‘song culture’ to ‘book culture’ in the Hellenistic period. This conference aims to bring together academics not only from within Classics, but from a variety of disciplines including anthropology, music, and philosophy, as well as scholars dealing with similar issues of performance and textuality outside of the Classical tradition in genres such as Norse epic and early modern theatre, in order to provide new theoretical perspectives on the changing and fluid relationship between performance and textuality in different genres, time-periods, cultures and contexts.

Panels will begin with one paper which examines these issues within the context of Greek literature, followed by a response which attempts to broaden the discussion to include similar problems and questions in a related field.

Confirmed speakers include Richard Janko (University of Michigan) and Niall Slater (Emory University).

Suggestions for papers of 45 minutes include, but are not limited to:
• How might a genre which starts out as primarily performative change and develop as it becomes increasingly encoded in a textual form?
• Did the increasing entextualisation of performative genres (e.g. the circulation of play scripts) from the late fifth century onwards affect    the composition and reception of those genres?
• How do fictional voices (e.g. character speech in lyric or epic, historiographical prose or oratory; or the voices of characters in drama or philosophical dialogue) interact with the presence or absence of an authorial voice? Does the relationship between fictional and authorial voice change over time or between genres as modes of textuality and performance change?
• How does the move from performance to entextualisation alter the way in which a genre constructs the authorial voice, or the way it constructs its audience?
• How does the relationship between performance and textuality differ between poetry and prose? Does the shifting relationship between poetry and prose over time affect the conception of textual voice?
• How do different modes of performance develop differently when they collide with an increasingly textualised culture?

Please send abstracts of c. 300 words to: by 31st January 2016.

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