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On the Question of the Gods

Date:October 23, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm EDT
Location:Teatro, Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue and West 117th Street
Morningside Campus
Columbia University in the City of New York
Contact:For further information regarding this event, please contact Columbia University by sending email to .

Everyone reading the Iliad and the Odyssey wonders what the presence of the gods and the demi-gods might signify - for the ancient Greeks and then for us as post-moderns. How are transcendent or spiritual values conveyed in Homer's texts? How does Bearden translate Homer's gods onto today's scene?

Program Participants:
Edward Mendelson
is Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities at Columbia and W. H. Auden’s literary executor. His books include The Things That Matter (on seven novels about personal life) and the forthcoming Moral Agents (about eight American writers).

Richard Sacks joined Columbia's Department of English and Comparative Literature in 1978, and he has also taught courses for the Departments of Classics and of Germanic Language and Literatures. His work focuses on the literary, mythic and linguistic traditions of Homeric Greek, Old English, and Old Norse, but he also works in areas such as biblical narrative, Celtic myth and narrative, classical myth in English poetry, and modern epic poetry, as well as the field of information technology.  He has served terms at Columbia as Director of Academic Information Systems, and as Executive Director of Information Technology and Adjunct Professor of Management Information Systems at the Columbia Business School, as well as Director of the First-Year Writing Program in the College. His publications include The Traditional Phrase in Homer: Two Studies in Form, Meaning and Interpretation, as well as articles on Greek, Old English and Old Norse poetry and linguistics, and on technology issues in higher education. His current book project – tentatively entitled Close Reading Infinite Horizons: the Healing Poetics of Derek Walcott's Omeros – focuses on the poetic and narrative strategies of Walcott's Nobel-Prize-winning poem.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak earned his BA in Classics at the University of Michigan and his PhD at Princeton University. Since 1973 he has been on the faculty at Wesleyan University, where he is now Professor of Classical Studies and Jane A. Seney  Professor of Greek. He has also held visiting professorships at UCLA, Dartmouth and the Yale School of Drama. He has been a guest scholar in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He has won the American Philological Association's award for excellence in the teaching of Classics, as well as the Wesleyan University award for teaching excellence. In 1998-99 he was the "250th Anniversary Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching" at Princeton. In 2012-13 he was Wesleyan’s first Distinguished Teaching Fellow. He has published widely on Greek history and historiography and on the history of photography. His current project is a study of the representation of classical sites by 19th-century photographers and travel writers; among his publications is the co-authored Antiquity and Photography (2005), which won the Association of American Publishers Award for Excellence in Scholarly Publishing.

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