CFP: III International Conference on “Hermeneutics of Symbol, Myth and ‘Modernity of Antiquity’ in Italian Literature and the Arts..." (15-16, December 2017)

deadline for submissions: 
October 24, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
contact email: 

Please consider submitting a proposal for the following Call for Papers.





III International Conference on “Hermeneutics of Symbol, Myth and ‘Modernity of Antiquity’ in Italian Literature and the Arts from the Renaissance up to the Present Day” (Milan, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 15-16, December 2017)


Deadline: 24 October 2017


Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milano) - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


WEBSITE (ita/eng):


The hermeneutics of the “modernity of antiquity” is a still pioneering branch of research in Italian literature and art studies. Its aim is to discover the hidden meaning of works of literature and arts where other approaches failed or proved unsatisfactory.

Its distinguishing trait consists in using, along with all the results of historical, critical and philological studies, ancient pagan religious and mythological sources and heresiological traditions as decisive and yet unexpected interpretative tools to understand literary and artistic works produced in the modern era and in Christian times, but skillfully conceived by their authors – who identify themselves with ancient people that had come back to life in modern times in disguise as crypto-pagans in incognito – as erudite enigmas.

The main objective of the modernity of the antiquity which, more precisely, should be considered as «hermeneutics of the “symbolic-mythological modernity of antiquity”», is to open the lid of the shrine-palimpsest work, which means scraping the scriptio superior of the literary and artistic images so as to reveal the true meaning that their author – riddler in disguise – veiled in the scriptio inferior



I. Words and concepts

  • I. 1. Hermeneutics, symbol and myth: etymological meaning of the terms and their evolution in the ancient culture.

II. Symbol and myth from early Catholicism

  • II. 1. Symbol from early Catholicism and liturgy.
  • II. 2. Symbols and myths of paganism, with particular reference to the mystery cults, in the interpretation of the Fathers of the Church, the Christian Apologists and ancient Christian writers (i.e. Clement of Alexandria, Arnobius, Firmicus Maternus, Augustine of Hippo).

III. The religious meaning of mythological symbol, myth and new syncretistic and apocalyptic mythology in some anticlassical theories of the modern age

  • III. 1. Abrégé de l’Origine de tous les Cultes by Charles François Dupuis (Trie-Château, 1742 - Is-sur-Tille, 1809).
  • III. 2. Symbolik und Mythologie der alten Völker, besonders der Griechen by Georg Friedrich Creuzer (Marburg an der Lahn, 1771 - Heidelberg, 1858).
  • III. 3.  Gottheiten von Samothrake e la Philosophie der Offenbarung by Friedrich W. J. Schelling (Leonberg, Württemberg, 1775 - Bad Ragaz, Sankt Gallen, 1854).
  • III. 4. Die unsterblichkeitslehre der orphischen theologie au den grabdenkmälern des altertums nach anleitung einer vase aus Canosa im besitz des herrn prosper biardot in Paris dargestellt by Johann Jakob Bachofen (Basel, 1815 – Basel 1887).

IV. Crypto-pagan symbols and themes hidden “under the veil” of Italian literature and the arts: symbols, myths and themes of the “modernity of antiquity” from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century

  • IV. 1. «Ut pictura poësis»

The symbols and themes of this section must refer to:

a) archaic, pre-Homeric, non-Olympic or even anti-Olympic ancient religious systems, or to ancient mystery cults, either Mediterranean or non-Mediterranean;

b) themes and figures that can be analyzed (even from a comparative and mythological-religious perspective, if necessary) include: Bacchus (-Dyonisus-Zagreus-Sabatius-Jacchus; Orpheus); Venus (-Aphrodite; Astarte; Tanit; Ishtar); Adonis (-Tammuz); Isis, Osiris, Horus, Aton, Amun, Serapis; Saturn (Cronus, Moloch, Baal Hammon; Aion, Zervan); Mithra; Shiva; Odino.

c) crypto-pagan symbols referring to apocalyptic themes.

  • IV. 2. Traces of ancient Christian and Jewish heresies and of the Jewish, Phoenician-punic, crypto-paganism hidden “under the veil” of the images, of the symbols and of the themes of Italian literature from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century.
  • IV. 3. Traces of crypto-esoteric initiation and crypto-pagan symbolism hidden “under the veil” of the narrative of Jules Verne (Nantes, 1828 - Amiens, 1905) and Maurice Leblanc (Rouen, 1864 - Perpignan, 1941), and in both popular and highbrow Italian literature and arts.
  • IV. 4. The crypto-paganism of the “Ancients” in the works of Lord Dunsany (London, 1878 - Dublin, 1957), Arthur Machen (Caerleon-on-Usk, Monmouthshire, 1863 - Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, 1947) and Howard Phillips Lovecraft (Providence, Rhode Island, USA, 1890-1937) in Italian literature and arts. 
  • IV. 5. Themes and symbols of ancient paganism (mystery cults, Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean) in historical-esoteric Italian thrillers. 
  • IV. 6. The “modernity of antiquity” in the symbols and mythological and crypto-pagan themes of the twentieth and twenty-first century’s comics, cartoons and video games.


Not personal invitations are allowed – All speakers will be selected by CFP

FEES (as speakers and listeners)

Under definition

(There will be special fees for Ph.D. students, students and speakers of last ER-SMMA Conference – 2016 and 2015)

ER-SMMA Book series

The submitted papers which will pass a double-blind peer review will be published in a volume. 


 In view of the III International Conference Er-smma 2017, we had a preparatory lab in Recanati (Centro Nazionale di Studi Leopardiani) from 2 to 8 July 2017.


ER-SMMA_LAB.LEO: «Man’s memory is powerless without the aid of signs».  Hermeneutical Studies’ Laboratory of sacred symbology and religious mythology  of the ‘modernity of antiquity’,  in Italian literature and the Arts from the Renaissance up to the Present Day, with Leopardian section (Recanati, CNSL, 2-8 July 2017)  



Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore -  Milano (III ed., Lucca, 23-29 luglio 2017) (III ed., Milano, 15-16  dicembre 2017; deadline: 24 ottobre) (Recanati, CNSL, 2-8 luglio 2017)




Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Facoltà di Lettere
Dipartimento di Scienze Letterarie – gruppo di ricerca MDRN
Blijde-Inkomststraat 21
B-3000 Leuven
tel.++ 32 16 32 48 36







All the best,


Dr. Carmela Pierini, Ph.D.