Rethinking Lyric Communities in Premodern Worlds

- (part of a series)

Location: Christ Church Research Centre, Oxford


The Center for Italian Studies is pleased to announce the upcoming symposium organized by Laura Banella, Assistant Professor of Italian at Notre Dame, Irene Fantappiè, Francesco Giusti, and Nicolas Longinotti with the support of the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership, the Christ Church Research Centre, the Center for Italian Studies, and in cooperation with the EXC Temporal Communities at Freie Universität Berlin.

From the circulation of poetic forms across different languages and traditions around the globe, through the envisioning of local, national and transnational discursive communities, to the negotiations of poetic filiations and social positions, lyric poetry seems to be a privileged site for an inquiry into community formation and its politics. Various theoretical approaches cast poetry in this peculiar role, from French and French-oriented political philosophy (exemplified in the famous exchange between Maurice Blanchot and Jean-Luc Nancy begun in the 1980s) to the reevaluations — in reader-response criticism as well as in postcolonial and decolonial studies — of poetry’s roots in orality and performance.

The symposium sets out to explore the ways in which lyric poetry enabled or imagined community formation from the 11th to 17th centuries in both European and Middle Eastern worlds,
investigating a variety of topics: the direct exchange of poems; the sharing of poetic codes; forms of collective writing; individual or collective performance; lyric poetry as a collective practice; the construction of collective voices; the practice of commentary for and within specific communities; the composition and circulation of manuscripts and early printed editions; transhistorical and transnational poetic communities; multilingual and homosocial literary relationships; and the role of translation in community formation.

The symposium is part of the Rethinking Lyric Communities project and aims to expand the inquiry begun with the two workshops funded by the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership and held at Christ Church (Oxford) on 23 June 2022 and at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry on 5 July 2022, which focused on modern and contemporary poetry.

For those who would like to attend virtually, please contact Nicolas Longinotti by Thursday 15 June 2023.

The program is also available here.

Symposium Schedule

Day 1: Christ Church Research Centre, 20 June 2023

9:30 am: Welcome and Breakfast
9:45 am: Introduction: Francesco Giusti (Oxford), "The Case for Lyric Communities"
10:00-11:00 am: Opening Talk: Irene Fantappiè (Cassino) Chair
• Manuele Gragnolati (Sorbonne/ICI Berlin) and Francesca Southerden (Oxford), Fare Lyric
Community: Encounter, Possibility, Affect


11:30 am -1:00 pm: Panel 1: Manuele Gragnolati (Sorbonne/ICI Berlin) Chair
• Ryan Pepin (York), Being a ‘Poeta’ in the High Middle Ages: Who’s in, Who’s Out
• Almut Suerbaum (Oxford), Symphonia — or: How to Create Communities through Religious Song
• Francesco Feriozzi (Oxford), ‘Li baro·m volran mal de so que ieu dic be’: European Politics and Poetry in (and around) Sordello’s Verse

Lunch (Reserved for Conference Participants)

2:30-4:30 pm: Panel 2: Laura Banella (Notre Dame) Chair
• Lachlan Hughes (Oxford), Affective and Didactic Community-Building in Jacopone da Todi’s Laude
• Elena Lombardi (Oxford), ‘Per diletto’. Pleasure and the Making of Lyric Communities in the Italian Duecento
• Mattia Boccuti (Notre Dame), The Shadow of Beatrice: Cino, Dante, and the Myth of the Gentilissima
• Nicolas Longinotti (FU Berlin), Empty Deixis – Transferable Communities: Petrarch’s Anonymous Addressees in the 15th-century Commentaries to the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta


5:00-6:30 pm: Keynote: Virginia Cox (Cambridge), Early Modern Lyric Communities and Print Culture
• Respondent: Bernhard Huss (FU Berlin)

Dinner (Reserved for Conference Participants)

Day 2: Christ Church Research Centre, 21 June 2023

10:30 am: Breakfast

11:00 am -1:00 pm: Panel 3: Nicola Gardini (Oxford) Chair
• Jennifer Rushworth (UCL), Some Thoughts on Petrarch, Mourning, and Affective Communities
• Christine Ott (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Extimacy and Mourning: Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Lyric Communities
• Alice Roullière (Oxford), Patrons, Friends and Family: Lyric Community in 16th-century French Elegies and Epitaphs
• Sean Geddes (Oxford), Inspiring Company: The Metaphysical Mode of the ‘Poeticall Essaies’ in Love’s Martyr

Lunch (Reserved for Conference Participants)

2:30-4:30 pm: Panel 4: Dominic Parviz Brookshaw (Oxford) Chair
• Nicola Carpentieri (Padova), A Matter of Habitus: Encoding Social Practices Through the Arabic and Italian Lyric in Medieval Sicily
• Julia Caterina Hartley (Glasgow), The Beloved as Christ in Dante and Hafez
• Pranav Prakash (Oxford), The Ethos of Friendship in Akhsitān Dihlavī’s Basātīn al-Uns (The Gardens of Fondness, 1325-26)
• James White (Cambridge), Transnational Networks and Local Community: The Refrain ‘Tonight’ in Seventeenth-Century Persian Poetry


5:00-6:30 pm: Keynote: Domenico Ingenito (UCLA), The Measured Ecstasy of Medieval Persian Lyric: Transcending Selfhood, Performing Experience
• Respondent: Simon Gilson (Oxford)