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Prometheus's Creatures and Creators: Sources and Migrations of a Myth in the Arts and Literature

University Nancy 2, France, 14-15 March 2008


Deadline for proposals: 30 June 2007

The different readings of the myth of Prometheus centre around two main
poles. The first one presents Prometheus as a godlike figure who can
"control fire," whereas the second presents him as a sorcerer's apprentice
who "plays with fire". From the Renaissance to the 20th century, the arts
and literature have adopted these apparently irreconcilable approaches to
the myth. During the Renaissance, philosophers (Bacon, Erasmus, etc.) gave
different interpretations of a myth which was the basis of a common
allegorical culture for poets (Spenser, Ronsard, etc.) and other artists
and musicians of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries (The Lord Masque of
Thomas Campion may serve as an illustration of this). In the 19th and 20th
centuries, the myth is to be found in music (Beethoven, Parry, Scriabin,
Libby Larsen, etc.), in literature (Shelley, Tony Harrison, etc.) and in
the plastic arts (J. S. Sargent, Lipchitz, etc.).

Different aspects of the myth of Prometheus have already been dealt with
in books or colloquiums. This conference aims to tackle an aspect which
has been studied and commented upon less than the other aspects: the
representations of the myth of Prometheus and their evolution through time
and space. Papers will analyse the adaptation, extension and diffusion of
the representations of the myth in the arts and literature.
Interdisciplinary and comparative approaches, be they diachronic or
generic, will be especially appreciated. Papers which probe the
predominance and representations of the myth in some particular genre(s)
would fit perfectly with our area of interest. Though the emphasis of the
conference will be on papers focussing on the English-speaking world,
papers stressing the manifestations of the myth in other parts of the
world (Germany, Italy, etc.) will also be welcome in as much as they,
directly or indirectly, shed light on the influence that a given reading
of the myth has/had on the English-speaking writers, composers, painters
and sculptors who deal/dealt with the myth of Prometheus.

Half-hour presentations can be given in English or in French. A selection
of papers fitting perfectly with our area of interest will be published in
"Regards croisés sur le monde Anglophone," by the Presses Universitaires
de Nancy. Please send your proposals (title and 250-word abstract) with a
brief curriculum vitae (1 page) to Claudine Armand
(Claudine.Armand@univ-nancy2.fr) and Jean-Philippe Heberlé
(Jean-Philippe.Heberle@univ-nancy2.fr) before 30 June 2007.
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