The Poetics of Material Life

Fri, Nov 15, 2019, 10:00 am to Sat, Nov 16, 2019, 6:00 pm
Department of English
Department of Classics
Department of History
Humanities Council
Program in American Studies
University Center for Human Values

The Symposium

We are conceiving of this symposium as an experiment in the form that intellectual collaborations take, just as much as its theme and organizing principle arises from a thought experiment about Aristotle’s Poetics.

In addition to the public-facing events, our invited authors will gather in private seminars to workshop their individual contributions with one another. At these private workshops, our authors will share some of their preliminary thoughts on how their work has been energized by being in conversation with the Poetics, and more generally to reflect upon what the interdisciplinary experiment has contributed to their thinking through the individual projects that will make their way to publication. We are open and eager for our seminar conversations to evolve into something we truly cannot anticipate — though what we do anticipate is that Princeton’s greater community, in joining us on Friday morning and evening, will contribute to our thinking in immeasurable ways!

Friday morning, we open our collaborative experiment to the Princeton community at large. We welcome all who attend to read the Poetics with us!

Public Events

10 a.m.

Master Class: Aristotle's Poetics

  • Andrew Ford
5 p.m.

Public Keynote

  • Martin Jay
    “Adorno and the Vicissitudes of Sublimation”
  • Anson Rabinbach


Andrew Ford has taught and published widely in Greek poetry and prose from Homer through the classical age. The focus of his research has been the history of literary criticism, especially as this involves questions of reception and social dimensions of literary history. He has published books on Homer: The Poetry of the Past and The Origins of Criticism: Literary Culture and Poetic Theory in Classical Greece, in addition to articles on aspects of Greek literature, including “Protagoras’ Head” in AJP 115 (1994), awarded the Gildersleeve Prize.

Martin Jay is the Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests have been groundbreaking in connecting history with other academic and intellectual activities, such as the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, other figures and methods in continental social theory, cultural criticism, and historiography, among many others.

He is the author of many books, including, most recently: Refractions of Violence (2003); Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme (2004); The Virtues of Mendacity: On Lying in Politics (2010); and Essays from the Edge: Parerga and Paralipomena (2011).