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Visual/Textual Encounters with the Tomb: Ekphrasis and Death in Early Modern Hispanic Poetry

Posted By Elizabeth B. Davis, Monday, May 2, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 2, 2016

CHICAGO, 30 March-1 April 2017

Visual/Textual Encounters with the Tomb: Ekphrasis and Death in Early Modern Hispanic Poetry

Early modern Hispanic poetry often recurred to funerary imagery as a rhetorical strategy aimed at the expression of an amorous sentiment, or at the elaboration of the panegyric of an illustrious deceased person. The presence of the tomb in early modern poetry is especially pervasive in the ekphrastic genre, where the description of funerary monuments and the poetic voice’s appellation to them respond to the original meaning of ekphrasis in the classical tradition, a telling, a speaking (phrazo) out (ek)”. What mechanisms does the poetic voice employ in the description of tombs and other funerary artifacts? What is the nature of the relationship between the poetic voice and the silence of death in the ekphrastic text? What happens when the poetic voice deals with the liminal space of the tomb, that ultimate frontier of language? This panel aims to provide new perspectives on the ekphrastic poetic genre and its relation to funerary imagery in Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic culture, especially in connection to the visual arts. We welcome proposals on topics such as the poetic description or voicing of funerary monuments, the tradition of the sonnet-epitaph, laudatory ekphrasis, the relationship between funerary poetry, emblematic literature, and the visual arts.


Please send a 150 word abstract and 1-page CV to Leticia Mercado ( and Elizabeth Davis ( by May 28. See the guidelines for CVs on the RSA’s annual meeting page.

Tags:  Baroque poetry  death  Early Modern Spain  ekphrasis  emblematic literature  emblems  funerary poetry  poetry and painting  Renaissance poetry  text and image 

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