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Lucretius and Modernity
The Annual Ranieri Colloquium in Ancient Studies
Location: Hemmerdinger Hall (100 Washington Square East)

Sponsored and organized by the Center for Ancient Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature
Co-sponsored by Gallatin School of Individualized Studies; the Humanities Initiative; the departments of Philosophy, French, Classics and English; the Program in Poetics and Theory

The long shadow cast by Lucretius’s poem falls across the disciplines of philosophy, literary history and criticism, religious studies, classics, political philosophy… Over the past two decades, interest in De rerum natura in each of these fields has grown dramatically, in some cases as hidden Epicurean influences on well-known writers have come to light, in others when the decline of a school or of a particular orthodoxy has left room for a return to Lucretius, and to the Epicurean tradition more broadly—as with the eclipse of normative materialisms in philosophy and politics. Contemporary physics has found in the ancient atomist tradition a strange and evocative mirror; the place of Lucretius’s poetics in the development of modern poetic genres, techniques, and themes has come into sharp focus; political philosophers have identified what Althusser called a “subterranean current” in the materialist tradition, flowing from Epicurus through Spinoza and Marx and to Deleuze, propelled by Lucretius’s great poem.

“Lucretius and Modernity” is the first conference to bring together classicists, philosophers and literary critics from Europe and the United States interested centrally in the work of Lucretius and in the long history of his reception. Clustered about four topics—1. What is modern about Lucretius? 2. What is Lucretian about modernity? 3. How to do things with Lucretius: Physics, Politics, Poetics; and 4. Following Lucretius—the papers presented at “Lucretius and Modernity” will provide the occasion for a reflection across disciplinary borders on the poem’s continuing, growing importance.

Participants and Speaking Topic

Anne Deneys-Tunney Lucretius and French Libertinism in the 18th Century”
Joseph Farrell “Lucretius and the Symptomatology of Modernism.”
Alain Gigandet Notes on Leo Strauss’ ‘Notes on Lucretius
Philip Hardie Lucretius and Renaissance hexameral epic”
Brooke Holmes The Evolution of Lucretius.
Thomas Kavanagh Epicureanism across the Revolution
David Konstan Lucretius the Physicist and Modern Science.
Jacques Lezra On the Nature of Marx’s Thing
Phillip Mitsis How Modern is the Problem of the Freedom of the Will?
Warren Montag From Clinamen to Conatus: Deleuze, Lucretius, Spinoza
Gerard Passannante Newton's Swerve.
Katja Vogt All Sense-Perceptions are True: Epicurean Responses to Skepticism and Relativism
Catherine Wilson Lucretius and the Speculative Sciences of Origins
Yves Charles Zarka The Aleatory: Lucretius and some modern authors