Latin Literature & Modern Media: Impoverished Aesthetics’ Scholars-in-Residence Blogs Released

August 29, 2023 by Department of Classics

The Impoverished Aesthetics project, from UofT Classics’ Prof. Lorenza Bennardo and Boston University’s Prof. Rebecca Moorman, investigates marginal states of being in ancient Latin literature. In examining less commonly valourized states of aesthetic experience in Roman culture (such as exhaustion, stupidity, anxiety, illness, hunger, and more) the project identifies and illuminates the role of the abject and small, the mean, ugly and weak, poverty and lack in Latin aesthetics.

As part of the Jackman Scholars-in-Residence hosted at UTM in May, five undergraduate students compared instances of ‘impoverished aesthetics’ in ancient and contemporary literature and art to gain insight into subaltern social identities and the experience of the audience and the artist in creative representations of abjection and impoverishment. The Scholars-in-Residence program follows a panel hosted by the project at The Classical Association’s Annual Conference at Swansea University in Wales in April 2022, and a conference held at UTM and UTSG in October 2022.

Over four weeks, under the supervision of Professors Bennardo and Moorman, students developed the next phase of the project: the creation of accessible, public-facing scholarship on marginality in Latin literature, in the form of a series of blog posts. No prior Classics knowledge required! The first three blogs are out now:

Piper Hay's blog explores male-athored sexual violence in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and in the TV show Game of Thrones. 
Maddie Jantzi’s blog looks into depictions of predator-prey dynamics in slasher films and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Sirine Messaikeh's blog investigates how the use of metamorphosis as a storytelling device has evolved over time, with a focus on Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Studio Ghibli’s anime films.
Sergen Hisar's blog delves into the treatment of women on Love Island and in Ovid’s Heroides to investigate the thematic endurance of infidelity and abandonment in romantic narratives.
Kaitlyn Matthews' blog finds traces of Ovid in the modern feminist novel.

You can also follow the project on Twitter for more updates.