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Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Arts & Humanities Faculty Events

Byzantine authorship: theories and practices

23rd July 2012, 09:30

An international conference to be held at Durham University, 23th-25th July 2012.

Confirmed speakers: Margaret Mullett (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection/Washington DC); Ingela Nilsson (University of Uppsala); Stratis Papaioannou (Brown University), Derek Krueger (University of North Carolina Greensboro).

This international conference aims to bring together scholars working on Byzantine literature from many different angles in order to investigate explicit theories and actual practices of authorship in the Middle Byzantine period. The aim is to understand how a culture obsessed with tradition faced and conceptualized its own ideological shifts.

Is it possible to single out new tendencies in the way classical authors were approached and valued? Does the emergence of new genres affect the notion of literary creation? Do contemporary textual practices promote a new attitude in reading the past tradition? Can we detect a more subjective approach to canonical authors? Can we outline one or more «implicit poetics» in texts describing the production and consumption of literary works? Does the way Byzantine commentators engage with their texts (both profane and sacred) change according to their social, religious, political or geographical background? Can we speak for Byzantium of «textual harrassment», as has been done for the latin Middle Ages? And, more importantly, how do commentators describe their strategies of interpretation or even manipulation? Finally, how do they posit themselves as compared to previous hermeneutical traditions?

All enquiries: Dr Aglae Pizzone (, Department of Classics and Ancient History, 38 North Bailey, Durham University, Durham, UNITED KINGDOM, DH1 3EU.

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