Annual Zarbin Lecture Fall 2023

Andrew Feldherr, Princeton University
October 19, 2023 @ 5:00 pm
Dartmouth Hall 105
Reception to follow
Free and open to the public.

Ovid's Undersea World

In his Natural History, Pliny uses an Ovidian poem on fishing as a source for describing the wondrous creatures of the sea.  This paper will use that passage to shape a reading of Metamorphoses.  It aims to show how narrative strategies of concealment and deception can be the basis for a new eco-critical approach to the epic.

I work on Latin Literature, with a particular interest in historiography and the poetry of the Augustan period. My first book, Spectacle and Society in Livy's History (University of California Press, 1998), argued that Livy's manipulation of viewers' perspectives in his representation of the Roman past tapped into the political and religious power of spectacle in contemporary Roman. Playing Gods: Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Politics of Fiction (Princeton University Press, 2010) examined the role of fictionality in the poem in light of other cultural discourses, especially in the visual arts. Both of these projects had the larger aim of highlighting the ambitious new claims about the role and power of literature made during this era of social, political, and cultural revolution and reconstruction. I have also recently edited or co-edited collections of essays on classical historiography, The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Historians (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and The Oxford History of Historical Writing (Oxford University Press, 2011). I was an undergraduate at Princeton (Class of 1985) and from there went to Berkeley, where I received my Ph.D. in 1991.

Sponsored by the Classics Department