Speaker: Joshua Hartman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics, Bowdoin
Title: "Reconceptualizing Colonial Neo-Latin Epic"
Abstract: The Latin epic tradition has a complicated relationship to colonization and empire. In the early modern era, epic poetry (whether in Latin or vernacular languages) is frequently examined through a post-Vergilian lens, defined by its sympathy or antipathy towards European colonial regimes. The tension between pro-imperial and anti-imperial readings takes on a new dimension as time passes, and as revolutionary sentiment and new paradigms of identity formation begin to take hold across the Americas. By examining a Neo-Latin epic written in Mexico, the Guadalupe of José Antonio Villerías (1695–1728), I will articulate new interpretive dimensions for Neo-Latin poetry written by American-born Spaniards (creoles/criollos). The Guadalupe retells a foundational narrative of Mexican Catholicism, the apparition of Mary in 1531, but it is also a radical reconfiguration of the creole relationship to Indigenous nations, Spanish colonial power, and the Latin language itself.