Call for Papers: SCS 2017

Vergil and Tragedy

Sponsored by the Vergilian Society
James J. O’Hara, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Organizer

The Vergilian Society 
invites submissions for a panel at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in Toronto

In two chapters of Gian Biagio Conte’s The Poetry of Pathos: Studies in Virgilian Epic (2007), he discusses the influence of Greek tragedy on Vergil. In one he argues (pp. 34-35) that “the great dramatic poets had invented the art of setting free the voices of other men and women. Virgil, the epic poet of pathos, learned from them how to grant space to those individual voices, making himself their witness and their champion.” In another he claims (p. 161) that “for Virgil… destabilizing the meaning of his text by fuelling it with internal contradictions is a genuine strategy of composition, a strategy by which the ‘ambiguous’ manner of Greek tragedy infects the language of epic.” Other recent work on Vergil and tragedy include Philip Hardie’s chapter in the 1997 Cambridge Companion to Virgil and Vassiliki Panoussi’s 2009 Greek Tragedy in Vergil’s Aeneid: Ritual, Empire, and Intertext, and, in the reception of Vergil, Scott McGill’s “Tragic Vergil: Rewriting Vergil as a Tragedy in the Cento Medea,” CW 95 (2002), and Christopher Trinacty’s 2014 Senecan Tragedy and the Reception of Augustan Poetry.

The Vergilian Society invites abstracts for papers on any aspect of the topic of Vergil and tragedy. We particularly welcome attempts to explore and test Conte’s claim that Vergil learned from tragedy how to “grant space to … individual voices” and “destabilize” his text through “internal contradictions,” but all approaches are welcome. Papers might explore general or specific debts to Greek and/or Roman tragedy; how the evocation of tragic intertexts works with or against allusion to texts in other genres; similarities and differences between how tragedy functioned at Athens and Vergil’s texts worked at Rome; the extent to which Dido, Turnus and other characters may be seen as “tragic”; Vergil and Aristotelian or other theories of tragedy; intertextuality between Vergil and later dramatic texts; or any other relevant topics.

Abstracts for papers should be submitted electronically as Word documents by March 9, 2016 to Jim O’Hara ( The abstracts will be judged anonymously and so should not reveal the author’s name, but the email should provide name and affiliation. Abstracts should be 650 words or fewer and should follow the [SCS] guidelines for individual abstracts (…/guidelines-authors-abstracts ), except that works cited should be put at the end of the document, not in a separate text box.