CFP: Epicurean Movements: Translating and Transporting Ancient Materialism (11/1/06; ACLA, 4/19/07-4/22/07)

full name / name of organization:
contact email: 

Epicurean Movements: Translating and Transporting Ancient Materialism
American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, Puebla,
Mexico, April 19-22, 2007

Epicureanism, perhaps the most famous brand of ancient materialism, has
long been on the move: indeed, its father, Epicurus, is said to have
founded branches of his school in the eastern Aegean area before making
the decisive move to Athens, where he founded the Garden. In other
words, unlike Platonism, Stoicism, or other major philosophies of the
day, Epicureanism immigrated into the philosophical center of the
Greek-speaking world. Since that day, Epicureanism and its pesky brand
of materialism have been translated and transported across countless
borders. During antiquity, Epicureanism wandered to Rome, where its
most famous expositor, Lucretius, thematized the very problem of its
translation: ??it is difficult to illuminate the murky discoveries of
Greeks, especially since much must be done with new language on account
of the poverty of our tongue and the novelty of the subject?? (DRN

This seminar seeks to investigate, in a broad fashion, problems of the
reception, translation, and transmission of Epicurean thought through
Rome and down to the modern world: how, that is, has the material
transmission of this brand of ancient materialism variously impacted
its understanding? Epicureanism has a particular history of being
?ec-centric,? not only in geographic terms but also in its antagonistic
relationship to many of the classical, philosophical norms of antiquity
and later times: one hope is that the seminar will provoke thinking
about Epicurean wandering in relation to this ec-centricity. Why,
throughout its transmission, has Epicureanism been unable to shake this
?outside? position, first symbollically inaugurated by its founder?s
philosophical devisings so far from Athens?

Participants are invited and encouraged to consider this problematic in
diverse guises: we hope to study the reception of Epicureanism in Rome,
during the Enlightenment, during Victorian times, and in the modern
world. Given the particular emphasis of the conference, it would be
fitting, too, to explore the (less well-known) reception of
Epicureanism into the Americas.

The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2006. Paper submissions
for 15-20 min. talks are invited and may be submitted in abstract at
the conference website:

Questions about this seminar may be directed to Will Shearin
( ) or Brooke Holmes (

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham:
Received on Thu Oct 05 2006 - 03:42:00 EDT