Talk: Philip Hardie, Monday, Apr. 4th @ 4pm


[category, ucdavis events]

Please join us for the first lecture of the Spring quarter. (refreshments will be provided). Below is a brief abstract.

Philip Hardie
(Visiting Sather Professor of Classics, UC Berkeley )
Monday, April 4th (4pm) Sproul Hall 912

"Cowherds and saints: comedy and realism in Paulinus of Nola"

This lecture explores some of the consequences of the Christian gospels’ elevation of the poor and the humble for late-antique literature written in the classical tradition. As case studies I take two poems by Paulinus of Nola. Poem 18, one of the Natalicia for St Felix, continues the biography of the saint by telling of his posthumous activity in the form of his miraculous interventions on earth, even after his own sublime translation to the citadel of heaven. The example of his miracles in this poem is a richly detailed narrative about a humble rustic who makes a living by renting out his two oxen. Poem 24, addressed to Paulinus’ noble friend Cytherius, begins with a lengthy narrative of the misadventures of a letter-carrier, and, like Poem 18, explores contrasts and continuities between the sublime and the ridiculous. I raise some general questions relating to the limits of realism, and to the role of humour in poetry on the sacred.

See you there!

Colin Webster

Assistant Professor

UC Davis, Classics Program

710 Sproul Hall

Davis, CA