Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Anglo Saxon Studies Colloquium

The Anglo Saxon Studies Colloquium
announces two events with

Stephen J. Harris
(University of Massachusetts)

Monday April 20
at Rutgers University

6.00 pm Lecture
Murray Hall, Room 302

"Did the Anglo-Saxons Understand Beauty?"

Seamus Heaney obliquely observed of North Germanic poetry its
tendency to "trust the feel of what nubbed treasure/ your hands have
known." With few exceptions, the poetic vocabulary of Old English
shies from explicit abstraction. There is no mention of the True or
the Good, let alone of physical beauty--descriptions of people and
landscapes are exceedingly rare, for example. As a consequence,
post-Enlightenment critics trying to recover an Anglo-Saxon
Weltanschauung are faced with methodological difficulties that become
increasingly pronounced as we come to search for literary reflexes of
identity, ethnicity, gender, and so forth. What form did their
abstract world take? How was it manifested in material form? How did
their poetry relate to ideas of the Beautiful—if it did at all? And
if we are to answer such questions, what would our answers look like?
In this talk, I discuss Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and Anglo-Saxon ideas
of the Beautiful and how one might go about looking for Beauty in Old
English poetry.

followed by:

Tuesday April 21
Workshop at Columbia University

First Workshop: "Beautiful Materialities"
Apr 21, 1pm - 2.30 pm 401 Hamilton

Second Workshop: "Community"
April 21, 4.10 pm - 5.30 pm 501 Int'l Affairs building (CIPA)

Please send an email to to register.
Reading materials will be made available in advance to those who
register in advance.
Attendance is free and open to the public.


To join our e-mail list, please send a message to:

For further updates and future talks, please check our website:

ASSC Sponsored by: The Department of English and Comparative
Literature, Columbia University; Dean for the Humanities, New York
University; The Department of English, Princeton University; The
Medieval Studies Program, Princeton University; The Department of
English, University of Rhode Island; The Department of English,
Rutgers University.

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