Keynote Speakers

Peter Brooks

Peter Brooks, Andrew M. Mellon Scholar, is a Professor in Comparative Literature and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is also the Sterling Professor Comparative Literature Emeritus at Yale University, where he was the founding director of the Whitney Humanities Center. He has written extensively on narrative and narrative theory, 19th and 20th century novels, law and literature, and psychoanalysis. His publications include Body Work: Objects of Desire in Modern Narrative, Psychoanalysis and  Story-Telling, and Realist Vision. His most recent book, Enigmas of Identity, draws upon literature, law and psychoanalysis in order to examine the emergence of identity as it pertains to modern culture.

Thursday Keynote Talk: “Desire at the End”

In his work on ‘identity’ – part of a new book entitled Enigmas of Identity – Prof. Brooks came upon the intriguing issue of ageing writers, thinkers and artists whose work seems to leap in their final years into something radically new, creating a new phase or period in their oeuvre. Examples include (among others) Beethoven, Yeats, Cézanne, Matisse, and Freud. After brief attention to Yeats and Cézanne, most of Prof. Brooks’ talk will be about Freud’s later work, especially Moses and Monotheism, Analysis Terminable and Interminable, and Constructions in Analysis, set in relation to more traditional conceptions of historicism, narrative, repetition and renewal.

David Konstan

David Konstan is a Professor in Classics at New York University. He is also the John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Brown University. He has written extensively on the ancient novel, classical philosophy, and classical Greek and Roman conceptions of emotion, friendship, pity, and forgiveness. His publications include Sexual Symmetry: Love in the Ancient Novel and Related Genres, Friendship in the Classical World, and The Emotions of the Ancient Greeks: Studies in Aristotle and Classical Literature.

Friday Keynote Talk: “Beauty and Desire, or When did Aesthetics Go Astray?”

Does beauty necessarily stimulate desire – and is the desire erotic? We speak of a beautiful person and a beautiful painting, but are we using the word “beautiful” in the
same way? Taking as his point of departure the ancient Greek conception of beauty, Prof. Konstan will examine the connection between beauty and erôs.

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