Classical Motives in Contemporary Short Narrative and the Importance of Summaries in Classical Reception
David Bouvier (University of Lausanne) [email@example.com]
Maria de Fátima Silva (University of Coimbra) [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Maria das Graças Augusto (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) [email@example.com]
Classical reception studies have paid great attention to the process of transformation and re-appropriation of mythological themes and ancient literary motives from Antiquity to Contemporary period. Our panel will aim at examining the use and references to ancient literature and mythology in two contrasting genres that have in common the principle of “brevity”: short stories and summaries. Is there a special way to refer to Classics in short stories? How much an epic, a tragedy, a comedy, a historical episode or a philosophical argument can be transformed into a short story? How a special episode of an ancient work can become the argument of a short story or of a tale? What narrative strategies are used to transpose a motive from an extensive work to a short story? Is the technique of summary an important tool in this process?
This panel will not only be interested in the presence of mythological themes in contemporary short narratives, but will also pay attention to the role of summary in the process of classical reception. Summary is a good way to recapture a previous narration into a new work. In Archaic Greece, for example, we can find summaries of the Trojan war already in the Odyssey. Demodocos’ song about the Ilioupersis is summarised at Book 8 of the Odyssey. Odyssean episodes offer an ideal material for short stories. Even short stories writers found also their idea and themes in ancient historians, philosophers and prose writers. Examples are numerous.
Summaries will also play an important role in the transmission of tragedies and mythology. Many manuscripts contain summaries of the different books of the Homeric epics or of tragedies. Many myths have also been summarised by different mythographers. Is this material used today by short stories writers, editors, screenwriters who propose abbreviated forms of ancient epics or dramas?
The variety of contributions will allow a comparative perspective in the adoption of greco-latin models, considering subjects and aesthetic solutions.
Different perspectives to be adopted:
.aesthetic strategies on importing ancient subjects and forms
.theoretical testimonies about affinities between classical paradigms and contemporary rewriting
.transversal connections within different literatures
.ancient and other intermediary sources
.personality of different authors and their access, more or less direct, to the ancient sources
.analysis of particular authors and texts