CFP: [Graduate] UW-Madison Graduate Students of French and Italian Symposium, April 2007

full name / name of organization: 
Loren Eadie
contact email: 

The Graduate Association of French and Italian Students
is pleased to announce its
21st Annual Symposium

Engaged/Engaging Texts: The Power of the Written and Spoken Word

April 4-5, 2008
The University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Without words, without writing and without books there would be no
history, there could be no concept of humanity.”
Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)

In his epic poem the Stanzas for the Joust, the Italian poet Poliziano
describes at length the palaces of Venus, including the ekphrasis of two
very beautiful and imaginary paintings depicting the goddess’s birth and
her presence in a highly symbolic nature scene. The master Renaissance
painter, Botticelli, was later commissioned to realize these images for the
Medici family. These two paintings, “The Birth of Venus” and “La
Primavera,” have since become emblematic of the Italian Renaissance. Just
as the poetry of Poliziano was brought into a tangible reality, so, too, in
his Cahier d’un retour au pays natal, Aimé Césaire uses revolutionary
language to inspire change and alter thinking fixed in a colonial past. As
these examples illustrate, written and spoken words hold powerful sway over
their readers and listeners, whether inspiring creativity, prompting
political change or providing diversion and instruction. From oral
traditions to Renaissance frescoes, from political theater to manifestos,
from written texts to their filmic representations, words when formed and
strung together act on those who receive them, shaping thoughts,
philosophies, and cultures. This symposium will also examine the
relationship between the reader and the text (the listener and the music,
the viewer and the play). This relationship is never static or
unidirectional: new eyes and new ears shape the texts they encounter and in
turn are profoundly changed.

We welcome 250-350 word abstracts for papers that examine the ways in which
texts and readers engage one another. How do we make literature relevant?
How do texts engage us? How do we engage with texts? Possible topics
(among others) could include:

1. Reinterpretations of texts, their adaptations, and uses in other
“unrelated” fields.
2. The impact and relevance (political, social, personal) of texts (words)
on readers / listeners / viewers.
3. Engaging students with literature in the classroom.

Symposium presentations should be in English, twenty minutes in length, and
may address a topic from any period or discipline. Please submit your
abstract by e-mail attachment no later than Friday, February 1, 2008 to
Mary Claypool and Loren Eadie, symposium co-chairs, at To download the abstract submission form
and for more information regarding the symposium, please visit our website

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Received on Fri Oct 12 2007 - 10:11:17 EDT