On 1st June 2022, I delivered my inaugural lecture as Professor of Greek at Warwick: 'The Future of the Lyric Encounter'.
I present here the original abstract and the slides accompanying the lecture. The work in this talk represents the turn towards inductive and increasingly philosophical thinking with antiquity that my research is now taking, via continued attention to ancient texts within a radically expanded frame of reference - including ecopoetics, phenomenology, and contemporary art (photography especially).
Please do get in touch if you would like a copy of the original text of the lecture.
The lecture was also accompanied by a series of my hand-made photographs using 19th-century technology. A selection of these remain on display in the Classics Department Academic Studio space on the second floor of the Faculty of Arts building at Warwick. See my David Fearn PhotographyLink opens in a new window for digitised images of some of these, especially in the 'Acontius' and 'Lockdown Macros' sections.
"This is a lecture about Greek lyric poetry. But what do we think this even is, and how should we frame this question? Moreover, how do we understand not simply what it is, but what it does, and might do, both now and in the future? What are the stakes of its persistence?
I briefly explore a range of ways in which thinking with ancient lyric texts alongside some strands of comparative literature, critical theory, and philosophy helps us to understand afresh and continue to articulate our commitments – now, and for the future – to these ancient, remote, shards of expression. I will illustrate my talk with excerpts of ancient lyric texts – taken from Pindar and Sappho – that seem alternatively to model, or challenge, our own absorption into their realms of experience.
What are the stakes of such absorption for our own self-understanding? And how best might we situate Greek lyric poetry within comparative spaces – beyond familiar scholarly frameworks of ancient politics or religion or social life - to continue to insist upon the nature of its challenges, and with what consequences? How, indeed, might such reflection help us to assess the challenges that make being a Classicist a matter of continuing controversy and fascination?"
Original Flyer with AbstractLink opens in a new window