Call for Papers: SCS 2018

Dido in and after Vergil
Sponsored by the Vergilian Society

James J. O’Hara, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Organizer

For the January 2018 meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in Boston, the Vergilian Society invites papers on any aspect of Vergil’s Dido story and its reception. Ovid writes that no part of the Aeneid is read more than the story of Dido and Aeneas (Tristia 2.533-36), Macrobius that no book of the Aeneid was more popular than the fourth with painters, sculptors, or designers of tapestries (Saturnalia 5.17).  In 1922 J. W. Mackail said that “Dido is certainly Virgil’s greatest creation and one of the greatest creations in all poetry,” and in 1944 T. S. Eliot called Aeneas’ encounter with Dido in the underworld “one of the most poignant and also most civilized passages in poetry.”
Few readers today would subscribe to Eliot’s claim or use that type of language, but the Aeneas-Dido story remains a focal point of the poem, inviting a variety of interpretive approaches and methodologies.  Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
·      intertextuality and the many literary and historical analogues for Aeneas and Dido, or more broadly the story’s relationship to Homer, tragedy, Apollonius, Catullus, and elegy;
·      gender issues and how they interact or conflict with Augustan concerns, or color reception of the Dido story; 
·      similes and other poetic devices in Vergil and other authors; 
·      the role of the gods, religion, magic and curses; 
·      issues of story-telling, focalization, polyphony and voice; 
·      the depiction of emotions and character in antiquity; 
·      influence or echoes of Greek and Roman philosophy; 
·      ethnicity, Punica fides, and “Orientalism”; 
·      connections to history both distant (Carthage) and more recent (Cleopatra); 
and the reception of Dido from antiquity to the present day: 
·      in classical and Christian poetry and prose;
·      in art including manuscripts, mosaics, and painting; 
·      in medieval and Renaissance poetry and drama; 
·      in music from Purcell and Berlioz to the popstar Dido;  
·      in modern poets writing in any language;
·      and in the fiction of Carol Gilligan, Elena Farrante or, e.g. Tessa Hadley’s “Dido’s Lament,” New Yorker, August 8 & 15, 2016. 
Abstracts for papers should be submitted electronically as Word documents by January 31, 2017 to Jim O’Hara (, preferably with the subject heading “Dido in and after Vergil”. 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 guidelines for individual abstracts (, except that works cited should be put at the end of the document, not in a separate text box.