Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

FP7

LIVING POETS Report Summary

Project reference: 283760
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC

Final Report Summary - LIVING POETS (Living Poets: A New Approach to Ancient Poetry)

This project offers a new approach to classical poetry, based on how listeners and readers imagined the Greek and Roman poets. From antiquity to the present, people have produced a vast range of narrative and visual representations of the ancient poets, drawing from three main sources: their understanding of classical poetry, other representations, and their lived experience. The main contention of this project is that representations of the ancient poets tell us something crucial – not about the actual poets of Greece and Rome, but about those who receive their works. Classical poetry has been transmitted for over two millennia: this project focuses on the people who recognised its value, ensured its survival, and reconfigured its relevance for their particular contexts. These people often had a powerful sense of the poets’ presence: they saw the ancient poets in dreams, had imaginary conversations with them, wrote biographies and anecdotes, produced portraits, and visited the places where they were supposed to have lived and died. An analysis of how readers imagined the Greek and Roman poets thus offers a powerful means of investigating the shifting social and cultural value of classical poetry from antiquity to the present, as well as shedding light, specifically, on its transmission.

The main outcomes are:
1. The project online database http://livingpoets.dur.ac.uk/ collects materials on some 20 ancient poets, together with guides to those materials, and short essays on more general issues of methodology and interpretation. As anticipated in the original application, several external scholars have expressed an interest in contributing to our online collection of guides and sources: materials submitted by two external collaborators have already been published, others are in preparation or under proposal. It seems clear, therefore, that the database will continue to grow after the end of the funded project.

2. Four monographs, two edited volumes, and several journal articles and chapters in books offer in-depth analysis of the three main components that shape representations of the ancient poets: (a) presentations of the poets within their oeuvres, (b) the conventions of biography, portraiture, and other relevant genres, (c) projections of the self when fashioning the ancient poets. Such analysis requires new methodologies, and is by nature interdisciplinary, so it is not surprising that authorities in different disciplines (Classics, History, History of Art, Modern Languages, and Cultural Geography) have contributed to the project by offering chapters, papers, and more informal advice. Publications tackle specific corpora and questions but, taken together, make the overall case for the role of the author in the reception of ancient literature.

3. The Ancient Greek OCR offers open-source Optical Character Recognition for Ancient Greek based on Tesseract. We developed it in order to create our online collection of sources, but it is now widely used by others throughout Europe and the world, including the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana http://vatlib.it, the Topoi project in Berlin http://topoi.org, and the Perseus Digital Library http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/. A Proof-of-Concept grant adapts our technology in order to digitise early printed books in Latin.

4. A project exhibition, On Seeing the Author: Portraits in Libraries (Durham, February-April 2015) focused on Bishop Cosin’s Library on Palace Green, Durham, one of the first in Great Britain to be decorated with portraits of authors. The exhibition explored how ancient and early modern libraries cast the act of reading as a transhistorical encounter.

5. A collaboration with theatre company Changeling Productions led to the delivery of theatre workshops in schools and community centres in County Durham inspired by Living Poets research. The workshops were designed to test the hypothesis that imagining the author is an effective means of establishing a personal relationship with the text.

Contact

Harle, Wendy (Director of Research Office)
Tel.: +44 191 3344635
Fax: +44 191 3344634
E-mail
Record Number: 181990 / Last updated on: 2016-05-05
Information source: SESAM