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Guest Speaker: “Deconstructing Narratives About Aristotle’s Poetics“, Guillaume Navaud (Lycée Henri-IV)

Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Kaplan Hall 348,


Aristotle’s Poetics, which provides the earliest Western theory of fictional narrative (muthos), has in turn become an object of fiction for contemporary novelists (Borges, Eco). But the story of the Poetics goes back earlier: Aristotle as poetician was chosen as the subject of a painting by Rembrandt, and since the Renaissance, his poetical theories have been embroidered into conflicting critical metanarratives about its place and effect in the history of aesthetics. Does such a proliferation of narratives simply make a case for skeptical relativism towards this “mythical object”? or can these narratives in turn become the object of a critical and historical study?

Guillaume Navaud teaches Literature and Humanities in “classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles” at lycée Henri-IV (Paris). He holds a PhD and an HDR (habilitation à diriger des recherches) in Comparative Literature (both defended at Paris Sorbonne). His research has focused on the relationships between theater and philosophy, with a special emphasis on classical antiquity and the early modern period. On this subject, he has authored several papers and two monographs: Voir le théâtre: Théories aristotéliciennes et pratiques du spectacle, Paris-Milano, (Mimesis, 2022), and Persona: Le théâtre comme métaphore théorique de Socrate à Shakespeare, (Geneva, Droz, 2011). He also published a French edition of Thomas More’s Utopia (Gallimard, “Folio”, 2012). His current projects include the co-editing (with Christine Mauduit and Olivier Renaut) of Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Aristotle’s “Poetics” (forthcoming in 2024), and the translation (from English and Latin, with Nicolas Dubos and Myriam-Isabelle Ducroq) of Francis Bacon’s History of the Reign of King Henry VII (forthcoming for Classiques Garnier).