The NYU Medieval and Renaissance Center invites you to the first event in the Spring 2022 Distinguished Lecture Series. Listen to Jenny Mann give a talk on The Trials of Orpheus (2021), "Softening as Poetic Force in Ovid and Marlowe."
Orpheus the spell-binder is a legendary figure of ancient myth. His songs charm the gods and compel animals, rocks, and trees to follow his command. The power of Orpheus's song transfixes Renaissance poets and philosophers, as they attempt to discover the mechanisms behind rhetorical force. Through Ovid's poetry, these writers come to understand eloquence as a force that acts at a distance, capable of binding, drawing, softening, and scattering its audiences. This presentation will examine the complicated virtue of softening in the classical and early modern language arts. Although classical moralists disdain softness as a failure of masculinity, the early modern trials of Orpheus revalue softening as a crucial vector of poetic power. Jenny Mann will delve into the vigorous non-productivity of this soft poetics in Ovid's Metamorphoses and Christopher Marlowe's English translation of Ovid's Amores, which present literary transmission as the mutual softening of poet and audience.
Jenny C. Mann is Associate Professor of English at New York University with a joint appointment with NYU Gallatin. She has followed her first book, Outlaw Rhetoric: Figuring Vernacular Eloquence in Shakespeare's England (2012), with The Trials of Orpheus: Poetry, Science, and the Early Modern Sublime (2021). She co-edited, with Debapriya Sarkar, a special issue of Philological Quarterly titled "Imagining Early Modern Scientific Forms" (2019). Her new research project explores problems of self-reference in utopian literature from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century.
Please register for this event using this link. Registration is free and open to the general public. Only registered attendees will receive the Zoom link via e-mail prior to the event.