The Early Modern Lucretius
Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 16-17 May 2012
Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began vividly narrates the rediscovery of Lucretius’ great philosophical epic, the De rerum natura. Professor Greenblatt will open an interdisciplinary conference to be held by the Centre for Early Modern Studies, University of Oxford, on ‘The Early Modern Lucretius’ (May 16-17 2012). Specialists in classical, English and European literature, history and philosophy will explore the contradictory reception of this fascinating and challenging poem. The conference will examine in detail how particular passages were interpreted by a range of readers from natural philosophers to women intellectuals, from Machiavelli to Montaigne and Hobbes. There will be a special session in which manuscript and print editions of Lucretius from the Bodleian Library will be presented by David Butterfield, who is preparing a new edition of the poem. Other participants will include Sharon Achinstein, Alison Brown, David Butterfield, Line Cottegnies, Nicholas Davidson, Philip Hardie, Nick Hardy, Stephen Harrison, Ian Maclean, David Norbrook, Richard Scholar, Rhodri Lewis, Will Poole, Wes Williams, and Catherine Wilson.
The conference will take place on Wednesday 16 May and the morning of Thursday 17 May 2012. It will open with a lecture by Stephen Greenblatt on ‘Lucretius and Aesthetic Toleration’. The closing session on the Wednesday will be a Bodleian masterclass by David Butterfield. There will be panels on religion and atheism, poetry and philosophy, politics and the state, and readers and paratexts. Participants will include Alison Brown, author of The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence, Philip Hardie, author of Lucretian Receptions, David Norbrook, co-editor of a new edition of Lucy Hutchinson’s translation, and Catherine Wilson, author of Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity, Sharon Achinstein, Line Cottegnies, Nicholas Davidson, Nick Hardy, Stephen Harrison, Ian Maclean, Richard Scholar, Rhodri Lewis, William Poole, and Wes Williams.