Department of Greek & Latin


Ancient Greek Poetry & Poetics: Interactions  Between Theory & Practice

This conference has been made possible by generous support of the A.G. Leventis foundation and the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO)

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Date of Event
21st - 22nd September 2017

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs. Attributed to John Osborne.

Modern literary critics have often fallen victim to scathing remarks by practicing authors. Inherent in this tendency is the assumption that the work of critics is an incidental epiphenomenon to the more essential activity of creative literary art. Critical theories of literature are thought to follow from the practice of authors who pay little heed to the former in blazing their particular trails. It is perhaps as a consequence of such attitudes that the possibility of a mutually influential interaction between poetry and poetics in antiquity has rarely received much scholarly attention. Much excellent research in recent decades has enhanced our understanding of the poetical theories of ancient philosophers, rhetoricians, scholars and grammarians. To name two examples, new and improved editions of the Derveni papyrus and of the Herculaneum papyri of Philodemus have illuminated Classical and Hellenistic methods of interpreting literature – yet the implications of these theories for our understanding of the practice of ancient poets have seldom been the main focus of investigation. Our aim is to address this neglect with a conference to be held at University College London, which will be devoted to the relationship between the theory and practice of ancient Greek poetry.

Events Programme

Thursday 21 September  - 25 Gordon Square, room 107 (access via Malet Place)
Friday 22 September - 16 Taviton Street Room 433


Tickets are available from the UCL Online Store for 21st September 2017 and 22nd September 2017.

Conference Dinner

Those wishing to attend the conference dinner on the Thursday evening at a cost of £40 should contact Tom Mackenzie stating any dietary requirements.