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Comparative intersections of epic and lyric in the Renaissance

Posted By Elizabeth B. Davis, Monday, May 02, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 02, 2016

SOCIETY FOR RENAISSANCE & BAROQUE HISPANIC POETRY
CALLS FOR PAPER, RENAISSANCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA
CHICAGO, 30 March-1 April 2017
 

Comparative intersections of epic and lyric in the Renaissance

Seldom studied together, much less from a comparative perspective that encompasses neo-Latin and vernacular traditions, Renaissance epic and lyric cannot be understood without one other, as they developed dialectically and borrowed tropes, strategies and language from each other. By the end of the sixteenth century, epic had seemingly triumphed on the European literary stage: Tasso’s reinvention of the Christian epic, the historical-nationalist epics of Camões and Ercilla, Ronsard’s attempt at a French national epic, and Spenser’s innovations on Italian romance-epic all mark this period as the zenith of epic production in Europe. At the same time, lyric had achieved a different kind of primacy with the pan-European obsession for Petrarchan verse in the vernacular and a Horatian turn in both neo-Latin and vernacular poetry. These models enabled the emergence of a new thematics of subjectivity and singularity. And yet lyric as a genre barely found definitions in contemporary poetics, and often needed to apologize (or appear to apologize) for not engaging in the heroic business of epic. The latter, in turn, struggled with completion and the instability of identities—national, religious, ethnic and gender—that lyric was better equipped to deal with. The organizers seek papers that explore how epic shaped the way that lyric was practiced and theorized, and vice versa; how epic and lyric shared and differed in their performance, transmission and reception; and how epic engaged in lyrical acts of self-awareness, voicing desire and identification with the other, even as lyric engaged in epic acts of discovery, appropriation of other voices, and narrative-building.

Please send proposals with name, a 1-page CV, title, and a 150-word abstract to Ayesha.Ramachandran@yale.edu or Felipe.Valencia@usu.edu by May 28. See the guidelines for CVs on the RSA’s annual meeting page.

Tags:  classical tradition  comparative literature  epic poetry; lyric poetry; poetics; theory of the   theory of the epic  theory of the lyric 

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