Dr Judith Fletcher (Professor, Department of History and Ancient Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University), "The haunted text: myths of the underworld in contemporary culture"
Stories of a visit to the realm of the dead and a return to the upper world are among the oldest narratives in European culture, beginning with Homer’s Odyssey and extending to contemporary fiction and art. Judith Fletcher examines a variety of different genres by twentieth- and twenty-first century authors and artists, including Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Elena Ferrante, and Anish Kapoor, who deal in various ways with the descent to Hades in literary fiction, comics, film, sculpture, and children’s culture. The analyses of these “haunted texts,” consider how their retellings relate to earlier versions of the mythical theme, including their ancient precedents by Homer and Vergil, but also to post-classical receptions of underworld narratives by authors such as Dante, Ezra Pound, and Joseph Conrad.
Dr Hallie Marshall (Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre & Film, University of British Columbia), "How to Shop for Books in late 5th-Century Athens"
The book trade in fifth century Athens is rarely discussed, and issues of literacy in classical Athens, and indeed in later periods, generally focus on questions of what portion of the population would have been literate, education and literacy, degrees of literacy, and the place and function of writing in Athens. This paper will explore our evidence for the selling and buying of books in late fifth-century Athens and argue that, in light of that evidence, we need to reframe our conception of what a book was for Greeks of this period.