Rematerializing the Classics: New Directions in Book History, Bibliography, and the Study of Antiquity (RBS-Mellon Program)
31 March 2015
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Dwinelle 3335, University of California, Berkeley
Presented by: The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School, the UC Berkeley Department of Classics, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, and the History of the Book Townsend Center Working Group
Drawing on the fields of history of the book and critical bibliography, this event aims to revisit classical materiality as a way to reimagine the future of material book studies in the study of antiquity. While a variety of practical challenges limit our access to ancient material texts, the materiality of the book and changing technologies of reading played a crucial role in ancient literature, philosophy, rhetoric, and history. The event will center around a lecture by Professor Joseph Howley (Columbia) entitled “Rematerializing the Book in the Roman Empire.” Howley’s talk seeks to redirect the conversation surrounding ancient materiality from one exclusively concerning literary, and largely poetic, materiality (e.g. the famous libellus of Catullus) toward a more expansive understanding of the ancient material text focused on the “prose materiality” of an author like Aulus Gellius. Moving away from an image of ancient book history as largely circumscribed by the diegetic frame of a literary work, Howley proposes that we engage with Greek and Roman books as dynamic and unstable physical objects—bought, sold, shelved, and circulated—that undermined the very knowledge and authority they also were understood to contain. After the lecture, there will be a roundtable featuring Berkeley faculty—Frank Bezner, Kathy McCarthy, and Dylan Sailor—to consider the role of material studies in the field of Classics more generally, and future of materiality and book history in the study of antiquity and after.
Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School, the UC Berkeley Department of Classics, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, and the History of the Book Townsend Center Working Group.