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Cultural Indexicality and Agency of Classical Myths

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Organizer: Valerio Caldesi Valeri

Co-Organizer: Jackie Murray

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Cultural Indexicality and Agency of Classical Myths

Far from being immutable sacred texts faithfully and uncritically recited word for word long after their creation as the myth-and-ritual school made them out to be, classical myths demonstrably thrive in the dynamic discontinuities of their retellings, thus vesting stories of old with new and current significance. This seminar proposes to explore receptions of ancient Greek and Roman myths, with particular emphasis on the functions of myth adaptations as both indexes and agents of cultural shifts. It is this seminar’s premise that the disconnections between myth templates and their reworkings point to profound changes in mentalité, while also pushing for those evolutions. In other words, myths not only respond to and acknowledge new realities, but actively advocate for them in an attempt to reshape the intellectual landscape. Not unlike ancient mythopoiesis, myth-remaking presents its audience with both a reflection of contemporary modes of thought and a compass for establishing those novel intellectual canons.

We are looking for paper proposals that represent as wide a diachronic spectrum of classical myths’ adaptations as possible, whether they be ancient, medieval, early modern, modern or contemporary. We are also seeking variety across media: in addition to literary works, we are interested in permutations of Greek and Roman myths that include, but are not limited to opera, film, graphic novel, podcasts, and popular songs.

 

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