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Talks by David Dennen, Nicole Budrovich, and Amanda Batarseh

January 25, 2013 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Time: 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM Location: 912 Sproul

The Reception Studies Research Cluster presents

Talks by David Dennen, Nicole Budrovich, and Amanda Batarseh

DAVID DENNEN, Music graduate student:

“Reception in and of a 19th-Century Odia Song Cycle” (or alternatively “Indian Song Cycle)
Moderated by Professor Henry Spiller

“Kishorachandrananda Champu” was composed in the early 19th century in what is now southern Odisha, India. In thirty-four Odia-language songs interspersed with sections of Sanskrit verse and prose, it tells the well-known story of the love of Radha and Krishna. Very popular in its author’s own time, with the emergence of the modern Odia public sphere in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the “Champu” was soon established as a canonic work of classical Odia literature. Despite being criticized for its eroticism and difficult language, it was taught in schools, eulogized by modern poets, and provided a cornerstone for the revival of Odissi music (proclaimed as the “classical music” of Odisha). This talk explores a few of these moments in the modern reception of the work and suggests possible reasons for its attraction to modern writers and cultural revivalists.

NICOLE BUDROVICH, Art History graduate student:

“Virgil in Art: Roman Identity and Spectacle in Provincial Mosaics”
Moderated by Professor Heghnar Watenpaugh

This paper examines the reception of a specific scene from Virgil’s Aeneid in provincial mosaics, and how the layered interpretation of the text made it a fitting representation of Roman identity in Southern Gaul. The mosaics represent the climax of the boxing match between Dares and Entellus described in Book 5 of the Aeneid. Virgil’s account of this episode is itself an example of reception that emulates and breaks from Homeric and Hellenistic models to establish a new Roman identity. Although the boxing match is one of many passages that illustrates Roman origins, it is the only Virgilian scene in the mosaics of southern Gaul. While the majority of provincial figural mosaics depict scenes from Greek myth and the pastoral imagination, the Dares and Entellus mosaics are striking in their Roman literary focus. Exactly why did this region have such an affinity for this athletic literary scene? In order to address this question, this paper explores both the literary receptions of Virgil and local context of southern Gaul: its Greek origins and influences, Roman urban developments, and most importantly, the increased popularity of athletics and spectacle. Although a provincial Roman would have appreciated the Dares and Entellus mosaics on multiple levels, the high density of amphitheaters in the region and the increased performance of Greek-style athletics during the first century may have contributed to the mosaics’ uncharacteristic popularity. An interesting example of reception, these mosaics draw on the literary tradition of Virgil in order to define local Roman identity and respond to the contemporary context.

AMANDA BATARSEH, Comparative Literature graduate student:

“The Arab Renaissance (Al-Nahda) and the Reception of Greco-Roman Classical Antiquity”
Moderated by Professor Noha Radwan

The history of the translation of classical texts into Arabic, primarily from Greek, originated and reached its peak in the Arab world in the eighth century during the reign of the Abbasid Dynasty (758-1258). These Arabic translations–primarily non-literary works of science, mathematics, philosophy and logic–are credited with allowing for the transmission of knowledge into Europe though Spain in the twelfth century, bringing Aristotle and others to European scholars, which ultimately contributed to the rebirth of classical studies in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Italy. The translation of Greek and Roman classical works of poetry and prose into Arabic, however, came much later, primarily as a result of the Arab Renaissance, Al-Nahda, from 1870 to 1950. The first complete translation of Homer into Arabic, published in Egypt in 1904 by Sulayman al-Bustani, was part of a controversial discourse, taking place in the Arab world regarding the benefits of translating works popularly considered part of a Western tradition. This dialogue was further polemicized by the dilemma of Arab independence, nationalism and modernism, and the power struggle with the West. This paper examines the cultural and political circumstances of al-Nahda, which encouraged the study and translation of ancient Greco-Roman authors and the establishment of the field of Classics in the Arab world. The paper focuses specifically on the roles of the twentieth century Lebanese scholar, Sulayman al-Bustani, who completed the first translation of the Iliad into Arabic, and of the Egyptian scholar, Taha Hussein, greatly credited for the establishment of Greco-Roman classical studies within Cairo University, and the advancement of these studies in Egypt, and the Arab world.

This event is sponsored by the Reception Studies Research Cluster.

For more information please contact: Prof. Brenda Schildgen at bdschildgen@ucdavis.edu. To learn more about this research cluster, visit their website at http://receptionstudies.ucdavis.edu.



January 25, 2013
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


912 Sproul


Reception Studies Research Cluster

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