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Material Texts: Shane Butler (Classics, Johns Hopkins): “Dante’s Mask”
Monday, October 17, 2016 - 5:15pm to 6:30pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion
Sixth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

Please join us Monday, October 17th, for the next meeting of the Workshop in the History of Material Texts. We will convene at our usual time and place: 5:15pm in the Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center on the 6th Floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. 

We will be welcoming Shane Butler (Classics, Johns Hopkins) for a talk entitled “Dante’s Mask: Queer Surfaces in the Books of John Addington Symonds” 

Shane writes:

 A long-forgotten introduction to the life and works of Dante, published in 1871, opens with a curious image of a curious object: an albumen photographic print of one of several plaster casts that circulated in the nineteenth century as a copy of the poet’s death mask. The book was the first of many by the Victorian polymath John Addington Symonds, mostly remembered today as the author of two privately-circulated essays that would help to set the stage for the coming movement for gay rights. In this paper, I want to revisit that photograph, among the very first to be used as a frontispiece, in order to propose a radical rethinking of the histories both of photography and of queerness.

 Shane Butler is Professor and Chair of Classics at Johns Hopkins University. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 2000 and went on to teach at the University of Pennsylvania, at UCLA, and at the University of Bristol in the UK, before moving to Hopkins in 2015. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of six books, including, most recently, The Ancient Phonograph, a monograph that appeared from Zone in the fall of 2015, and Deep Classics: Rethinking Classical Reception, an edited volume out earlier this year from Bloomsbury.