POETIC TRADITIONS IN MANUSCRIPT CULTURES.
Our inter-disciplinary forum will bring together scholars working on different pre-modern cultures interested in the manuscript representation and transmission of early poetry. It will review the tension between the oral performative element of early poetic traditions, on the one hand, and the written element in the material context of manuscript cultures and reading audiences, on the other.
Please consult the Conference Statement for more details.
9:00–9:30 am (GMT+1)
Dirk Meyer, Gabriele Rota, Yegor Grebnev
Introductory word from the organisers
What the conference is about, how the panels are structured, and how the sessions will be organised.
Classics: The Queen’s College, Oxford
“You shall have Imperishable Fame”: Performance, Reperformance and Writing in Early Greek Praise Poetry
This paper explores how the early Greek praise poets, especially their best-preserved representative Pindar, strove to ensure that their songs would still appeal to future audiences, whether in reperformance or in the emerging literary tradition.
Arabic Studies: St John’s College, Oxford
Arabic picture-poems and the “tree of praise” : a long - and significant? - tradition
Taking as its focus one figure found recurrently in Arabic generative picture-poetry, this paper will try to piece together its travels around the Mediterranean over several centuries and ask whether it is its longevity alone that makes the picture-poem significant.
Mesopotamian Studies: SOAS
Oral and written in Sumerian literature
In this paper I shall illustrate how the scribes of Mesopotamia only partially represented ancient poetic compositions in writing. I shall discuss specific instances within the three millennia of cuneiform culture, where it may be demonstrated that writing was used as an aide-mémoire within a context of oral transmission.
South Asian Studies: The Queen’s College, Oxford
“Editing” Rājaśekhara’s Bālabhārata: an examination of the variants and anomalies found in Sanskr. d. 88
Rājaśekhara's Bālabhārata (‘The Little Bhārata’, c. 10th century) is an incomplete two-act play containing both verse and prose passages. It has several published editions with irreconcilable variants that change the verses' meaning. I shall evaluate one particular 17th century manuscript (Sanskr. d. 88, Bodleian Libraries) to discuss some of the textual discrepancies and explore the extent to which this manuscript’s variant readings can shed light on scribal habits with regard to Sanskrit kāvya (poetry).
Free time for informal group discussions.
Classics: University College London
Literary history in fragments: the transmission of Roman Republican literature and its reception
This paper will look at how the fragments of Roman Republican literature have been transmitted (by isolated quotations in later ancient authors) and how this way of transmission has shaped the perception of this phase of Roman literature in modern scholarship.
Classics: The Queen’s College, Oxford
Immortal Trash. Ovid’s Tristia and textual transmission in-between books
Tristia is the first of two collections of poems that Ovid wrote from his exile on the Black Sea. The five books were written and sent to Rome separately in the course of three years. In this paper I will explore Ovid’s traumatic confrontation with the unforgiving nature of textual transmission, and the clever ways in which he manipulates the expectations of contemporary readers at the end and start of subsequent books.
Final roundtable discussion
All participants will be invited to share their reflections.
Established in 1341, The Queen's College prides itself in a long tradition of research of ancient cultures. The Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures is a research-focused group that advances cutting-edge studies of pre-modern manuscript and epigraphic traditions around the world.
Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology was established in 2013 at Hong Kong Baptist University for the purpose of understanding and preserving Chinese cultural heritage, through focused research and engaged teaching.