Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Klassische Philologie, HU Berlin

7 - 9 April 2022: Conference "Lightness, quickness, multiplicity. Three memos for Classicists"

In 1985-86, the Italian writer Italo Calvino was invited to give the Charles Eliot Norton Poetry lectures at Harvard. He conceived his five lectures as “memos for the next millennium”, exploring textual qualities suited to accompanying writers and readers into the literature of the future: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity (a sixth on consistency remained but a project). In these lectures Calvino takes into consideration a broad spectrum of texts, ancient and modern, from poetry to philosophy, from the novel to science, from biography to drama. Specific prominence is given to the work of certain classical Greek and Roman authors, in particular Homer, Lucretius and Ovid.

Calvino strongly believed that (literary) writing must be generated by an external constriction, so we take inspiration from those famous “memos” and invite our speakers to a specific task: to look at a text of their own choice through the lens of the Calvinian memos which are perhaps less discussed in the study of classical literature, namely “lightness”, “quickness” and “multiplicity.” We invite speakers not only to reconsider those Greek and Latin texts which were treated by Calvino himself, but also to turn those poetic qualities into powerful hermeneutic strategies for reading and investigating ancient and late antique textuality more generally. The conference is dedicated to Professor Therese Fuhrer (LMU Munich).

Organizers: Lisa Cordes (HU Berlin), Janja Soldo (Manchester) und Marco Formisano (Ghent University)


Link zum Programm (PDF)


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