Phiroze Vasunia, "Verse, Affect, Inspiration: Homer and the Ramayana"

Fri April 5th 2024, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Event Sponsor
Department of Classics
Building 110
450 Jane Stanford Way Building 110, Stanford, CA 94305

Talk Description: This paper reflects on ancient Greek and Sanskrit epic poetry (the Iliad and the Ramayana).  Both epic traditions imply that song and poetic traditions begin in grief, pain, and trauma.  Why should this be the case?  Why does verse have to come from suffering?  We look at the ancient poems comparatively, explore the emotional register of the poems (especially of their opening verses), and discuss their presentation of poetic inspiration.

Short Bio: Phiroze Vasunia is Professor of Greek at University College London.  His publications include The Gift of the Nile (2001), Zarathushtra and the Religion of Ancient Iran (2007), and The Classics and Colonial India (2013).  A recent volume is Hellenistic Literature and Culture: Studies in Honor of Susan A. Stephens (2024), which he edited with Benjamin Acosta-Hughes and Jacqueline Arthur-Montagne.  He is the principal convenor of a research project (2021-2024) entitled 'Comparative Classics: Greece, Rome, India’, from which this paper is drawn.