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Vincent Barletta: "Rhythm and the Iberian Renaissance"

Date and Time: 
Monday, May 4, 2015. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room
Meeting Description: 

Please join us for a workshop with Vincent Barletta titled “Rhythm and the Iberian Renaissance.” Luis Rodríguez Rincón (PhD student in Comparative Literature) will be responding. Please note that Poetics will meet on Mondays in the Spring quarter.

For Prof. Barletta’s pre-circulated paper and optional recommended reading, please email Mary at mkim6@stanford.edu.

About the paper, Prof. Barletta writes:

Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, Paul Valéry would propose an inductive and empirical path for the study of rhythm. He writes: “Since it’s not a matter of defining the thing itself, one should look at the simplest of those phenomena that prompt our use of the word rhythm; examine them closely; isolate and name some general characteristics.” What Valéry suggests here goes well beyond a relatively straightforward refusal to hazard or accept any a priori definition for a term that ultimately transcends classification; what is at stake, rather, is the much more far-reaching idea of advancing rhythm as a point from which to examine the world and our relation to it, as a locus or field of inquiry. It is an ethnopoetics in the purest sense: to observe what is closest and most simple to us in concrete settings – the drawing and releasing of breath, the rise and fall of our feet, the beating of the heart, the Other who greets us and engages us in conversation—and from there develop an account, a uniquely poetic and metadiscursive account, of rhythm and the ways in which our reckoning with it both reveals and shapes what it means to us to be. Taking seriously Valéry’s suggestion that we look inductively at rhythm and the phenomena that prompt us to use the term, I focus upon a specific constellation of ideas regarding rhythm that have their origins in the ancient Mediterranean but have seen further development during the Renaissance and throughout the twentieth century.”

About the speaker:

Vincent Barletta is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Iberian and Latin American Cultures and Research Associate at Stanford's Europe Center in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His research and teaching focus on medieval and early modern Iberian literatures; Portuguese empire and humanism; Islam and Aljamiado literature; comparative literature; literature and linguistic anthropology; literature and philosophy. His current book project, Rhythm: a Revisionist History, analyzes key philosophical and poetic theorizations of rhythm from ancient Greece to the modern era. His most recent book is Dreams of Waking: An Anthology of Iberian Lyric Poetry, 1400-1700 (U of Chicago P, 2013), co-edited and translated with Mark L. Bajus and Cici Malik. Before this, he authored Death in Babylon: Alexander the Great and Iberian Empire in the Muslim Orient (U of Chicago P, 2010), which focuses primarily on the ideologies of empire and classical motifs that inform Portuguese expansion into Muslim Africa and Asia. He is also the author of Covert Gestures: Crypto-Islamic Literature as Cultural Practice in Early Modern Spain (U of Minnesota P, 2005), for which he was awarded the La corónica International Book Award, and editor/translator of Granadan Morisco Francisco Núñez Muley's A Memorandum for the President of the Royal Audiencia and Chancery Court of the City and Kingdom of Granada (U of Chicago P, 2007). In recent years, he has also published research on writers such as João de Barros, Luís de Camões, Joanot Martorell, Fernão de Oliveira, Fernão Mendes Pinto, António Vieira, and Ramon Llull.

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