Propylaeum Blog

30.09.-02.10.2021: Lector, quas patieris hic salebras! The Stumbling Texts (and Stumbling Readers) of Late Latin Poetry

Avatar of Dorothée GriebDorothée Grieb - 14. September 2021 - Veranstaltungen

International Conference and Workshop (hybrid) of the SNSF research project "Muse – Musse – Musseraum", University of Basel

Many ‘late’ Latin poets like Ausonius and Sidonius Apollinaris are considered second-class. While in recent years much attention has been paid to the theoretical and methodical presuppositions of this and other comparable judgements, hardly a word has emerged from the so judged themselves. This is all the more noteworthy because an author judging his own text was a meaningful and formally varied phenomenon in late antiquity. The two aforementioned poets know, at least according to their paratexts, that they are second-class: our title, for example, we’ve taken from Sidonius’ ninth poem.

As paratextuality further establishes itself as a point of interest in Latin research, it becomes easier to pursue systematically how, by whom and under what conditions the configurations of a work came together and how it is contextualized in something like literary history. A somewhat different focus is the question of parergonality: how and when does a work become a literary oeuvre and what relationship do the different parts have to each other? In as far as such questions circle around reception theory, reading itself and the dynamic of individual interpretations become particularly meaningful. Here it is necessary to consider where and when the reader constitutes a historical, abstract or otherwise describable entity.

(Post-)Structural perspectives afford a specific access to such varied and small-scale works like those of Ausonius and Sidonius—an approach independent of preconceived literary epochs: instead of considering the often unavoidable ‘late antiquity’ of our authors which imbues their biographies and cultural history, we want to turn our gaze to their poetics and to the dimension of literary interpretation.

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The conference will take place in hybrid mode. Colleagues are warmly welcomed to attend the conference in person at Hotel Odelya (Building Ayledo) in Basel or virtually (via Zoom).

Please register per email until 20 September to Alexandra Giannotta ( with note "in person" or "virtually".

Project team:                  
Dr. Markus Kersten          
MA Ann-Kathrin Stähle          
Dr. Christian Guerra

Project lead:  
Prof. Dr. Henriette Harich-Schwarzbau

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