Lecture: Ralph Bauer
“Lucretius's New World: Cannibal Heterotopias in the Sixteenth Century,” Ralph Bauer, associate professor of English, University of Maryland.
Bauer will investigate the so-called Return of Lucretius—the impact of Epicurean natural philosophy, especially of Democritan atomism—to Renaissance Europe via a New World heterotopia of Brazilian cannibalism in seminal texts by Amerigo Vespucci, Thomas More, Jean de Léry, André Thévet, and Michel de Montaigne. The Renaissance humanists’ engagement with classical pagan natural philosophy was facilitated through a rhetoric of “cannibal ventriloquism,” where un-Christian but perennially powerful ideas such as pre-Socratic atomism were placed in the mouths of New World cannibals by European humanists who discovered an uncanny resemblance between Brazilian cannibal metaphysics and the sublimated forms of materialism evident in the common medieval and early modern European practice of medicinal cannibalism and the Catholic Eucharist.
Friday, March 29 at 3:30pm
Park Hall, 144
200 Baldwin Street, Athens, GA 30602