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Ancient World Seminar: Bettina Reitz-Joosse (RUG) – “‘Madeness’: The Aesthetics of Production in Roman Literature”

When:Mo 22-05-2017 16:15 - 17:30
Where:Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (Oude Boteringestraat 38), room 130

NB: The lecture was moved from Monday, May 15, to Monday, May 22. Time and venue have not changed.

When we look at a finished artefact, be it a painting, a sculpture, or a monument, our judgement of it is based not only on certain visible characteristics (such as colours, proportion, lifelikeness, ‘sublimity’), but also by something invisible but nonetheless material: a conception of how that artefact was made. This lecture deals with this underappreciated aspect of aesthetics, which I call ‘madeness’, and specifically with its expressions in ancient Roman literature and its role in the ancient world. When ancient literature reflects on questions of the value of art or architecture, such reflection crucially involves narratives of ‘making of’, ranging from the mythical to the mundane. In this lecture, I will examine some of those narratives, both in their literary and their material context, and explore whether we can speak of an ‘aesthetics of production’ as a category of art criticism and literary criticism in the ancient Roman world.

Bettina Reitz-Joosse is Assistant Professor of Latin Literature at the University of Groningen. Before joining this department, she obtained a PhD from Leiden University in 2013, and held postdoctoral fellowships at Leiden, the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome (KNIR) and UPenn. She is currently working on a project funded by an NWO Veni grant, on the representation of ‘landscapes of war’ (battlefields and other post-war spaces) in Roman literature. Of special note is also her rediscovery, made together with Han Lamers (Leuven/Berlin), of the Fascist Latin text Codex Fori Mussolini, text and edition of which were published in August 2016.