"This project will challenge existing perceptions through a significant reappraisal of the role of classical mythology as a figuration of desire in late renaissance and baroque poetry — concentrating mainly on Spanish and Italian texts, but also including excursions to English, French, German, and Scandinavian literature. The working hypothesis of my project is 1) that late renaissance and baroque literature reflects an ambiguous preoccupation with an issue that we today tend to see in a more unequivocally positive light — eroticism; and 2) that this preoccupation shows most explicitly in what may be termed the mythological poetry of the period.
The outcome of my project will be a re-contextualization of the investigated late renaissance and baroque erotic-mythological masterpieces and anticipated conclusions include 1) the affirmation that late renaissance and baroque poets’ representation of human desire through the stories and figures of ancient mythology, in its striking audacity and even frankness, in many respects recalls modern attitudes to eroticism, yet is also significantly more self-conscious, self-relativizing or reflective; 2) the assertion that this ambivalence does have to do with the historical moment, and should be seen as an expression of the complex interaction of various epistemological paradigms particularly characteristic of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century.
The research objectives will be achieved through a combination of empirical research and theoretical reflexions, and results will be published, during the project period, in the form of journal articles (a empirical and a theoretical essay), and gathered into a coherent whole at the end of the project period.
The subject, classical mythology (pan-European heritage and a field of strong transnational impact), is obviously relevant to the Work Programme, and the proposal will significantly contribute to the long overdue re-historicization of premodern erotic literature."
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