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Claude Calame: “The Creation of Eve and Pandora in ‘Differential Comparison’: Myths of Foundation and Michel Foucault’s ‘Aveux de la Chair’”
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About the Lecture
In his History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault intends to offer a “genealogy of the subject of desire” and of the “arts of existence” through the experience of the flesh, in the comparative passage from the Greco-Roman paradigm to Christianity in the first centuries. Relying on philosophers, moralists, physicians, and Fathers of the Church, Foucault fails to take into consideration the narratives that we identify as “founding myths,” while focusing his investigation on a subject of desire understood in the masculine. Through a narratological approach and in a perspective of differential and critical comparison, we would like to return to the two founding narratives which are (from the point of view of what sexuality has become for us), on the one hand the Old Testament narrative of the birth of Eve, and on the other hand the Hesiodic narrative of the creation of Pandora. We will envision them as much from the standpoint of the values they represent as from the standpoint of the gender relations they stage, while emphasizing their poetic pragmatics. In conclusion, we will come back to one of the aporias of Foucault’s investigation.
About the Speaker
Claude Calame is Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (Centre AnHiMA: Anthropologie et Histoire des Mondes Antiques). He taught also at the Universities of Urbino, Lausanne, and at Yale University. In English he published The Craft of Poetic Speech in Ancient Greece (Cornell University Press 1995), The Poetics of Eros in Ancient Greece (Princeton University Press 1999), Masks of Authority: Fiction and Pragmatics in Ancient Greek Poetics (Cornell University Press 2005), Greek Mythology: Poetics, Pragmatics and Fiction (Cambridge University Press 2009), and most recently, soon in English, La tragédie chorale. Poésie grecque et rituel musical (Les Belles Lettres 2018).