Conference Reports

Eighth Rethymnon International Conference on the Ancient Novel, Rethymnon, 14th - 15th October 2016

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To attend the RICAN 8 has been a fantastic opportunity to present my paper, which expands on part of my doctoral dissertation, and discuss it with peers and senior scholars who are the leading experts on the field of the ancient novel and Imperial literature. My paper focused on the references to the material culture of ancient magic in the Metamorphoses by Apuleius (the only complete Latin novel which has survived from the ancient world), and look at a wholly unexplored aspect of this text: the connections between the real practices and the literary descriptions of magic which Apuleius inserts to increase the dramatic tone of his narration.

To participate in this conference has also constituted an excellent occasion to put into practice my delivery skills, giving a twenty-five minutes talk followed by a fifteen minutes session for questions. The feedback I received from the audience was very positive, and encouraged me to keep an approach as accessible as possible, reading the classical sources in translation (the original texts being provided in the hand-outs), and regularly signposting the progression of my arguments in order to give consistency and continuity to the paper itself.

The extremely friendly academic environment enabled me to continue the discussion after my presentation and during the conference dinners, which took place in the picturesque old town of Rethymnon. I met some truly wonderful people from British, French, German, Italian, Greek, and North-American universities, who were keen to share knowledge and to talk about our common research interest in Imperial literature. Michael Paschalis (Prof. Emeritus of the University of Crete, Dept. of Philology) even provided me with two extremely useful monographs in Greek to enrich the bibliography of my doctoral thesis.

I feel that I have acquired much confidence in presenting my ideas and defending them, and I trust that this experience will significantly contribute to my PhD viva, and to my own academic development. Therefore, I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to the Faculty Graduate School Committee for the generous grant that allowed me to take part in this enriching academic experience.

Leonardo Costantini, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

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  1. Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Bruges, 18th-20th August 2016
  2. XVII EURALEX International Congress, 6th - 10th September 2016
  3. Eighth Rethymnon International Conference on the Ancient Novel, Rethymnon, 14th - 15th October 2016
  4. Native American Literature Symposium Minnesota, United States, 2nd - 4th March 2017
  5. Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association Joint National Conference, San Diego, 12th-15th April 2017
  6. The European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSAeu), Basel, 21st-24th June 2017
  7. The American Comparative Literature Association 2017 Annual Meeting, Utrecht, 6th-9th July 2017