Kalina Slaska-Sapala, The Australian National University
Kalina is interested in the afterlife of Homeric epic and its transmission into the Renaissance. Her MPhil thesis, entitled “Negotiating fate: Homeric models of divine intercession in Paradise Lost“, focuses on the reception of divine council scenes in the Iliad and Odyssey by John Milton in his own epic Paradise Lost, as mediated through Virgil’s refashioning of these scenes in the Aeneid. This leads to wider questions about the role of fate in the Virgilian and post-Virgilian canon, specifically, how debates about the relationship of Homer’s Zeus and Virgil’s Jupiter to fate, played out in the post-Virgilian epics, is preserved in Milton’s own portrayal of the Father in Paradise Lost.
Leanne Grech, University of Melbourne
Leanne has been researching Oscar Wilde’s literary and personal engagement with the cultural legacy of ancient Greece. Wilde’s unmistakable aesthetic image is ingrained in our current popular culture, yet few realise that Wilde began his illustrious career as a promising young classicist. As an Oxford undergraduate, he gained a first-hand experience of the English approach to classical studies, which sought to bridge the gap between the ancient and modern world and to relate Christian teachings to the study of classical culture. Scholars have started to draw attention to Wilde’s classicism without also considering where Christianity fits in relation to this discourse. Leanne’s PhD thesis argues that there is a complex contradiction in the way that Wilde responds to Greek culture because he refers to Christian symbols and the life of Christ just as often as he mentions Greco-Roman mythology, philosophy and historical figures. Wilde’s attitudes towards the two cultures is constantly changing and often contradictory; the Christian-Pagan conflict that we find in Wilde is also embedded in the classical curriculum of Victorian Oxford.
Corinna Verity Box, University of Melbourne
Corinna is exploring ways in which poets from the 1590s use Ovid’ love poetry, specifically the Amores. She argues that Christopher Marlowe’s translation of All Ovid’s Elegies was the catalyst for a new breed of love poets who copy the witty elegant persona of the Amores and its licentious and at times even ridiculous themes, images and situations. This new style of love poetry can then be seen in Marlowe’s own Hero and Leander, in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, and other Elizabethan epyllia as well as in Donne’s romantic lyrics. All of these poems rework formulae and tropes from Ovid, use his style, or his urbanitas in ways which challenge the romantic norms of Petrarchan and courtly love poetry. Ovid in this period was exactly what he pictured himself as in the Ars Amatoria, a teacher or instructor in the arts of love (and seduction).