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Phil and Lit: "Playing at Philosophy with Diogenes the Cynic in Early Modern French Literature" with Hugh Roberts

Events

Speaker:

Hugh Roberts (University of Exeter)

Date:

Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 12:00pm

Phil and Lit: "Playing at Philosophy with Diogenes the Cynic in Early Modern French Literature" with Hugh Roberts

 
The Philosophy and Literature Initiative warmly invites you to its last Winter event.
 
Prof. Hugh Roberts (University of Exeter) will workshop his paper in progress “Playing at Philosophy with Diogenes the Cynic in Early Modern French Literature.”
 
Here is a blurb of the paper:
 
In this paper, I shall address how early modern French writers played with the humorous and paradoxical sayings and stories of ancient Cynicism, including especially those concerning Diogenes of Sinope (4th century BCE). In particular, the paper will explore how the performative and provocative discipline of Cynicism is also seen in a distrust of reading, writing and hence literature: ‘When Hegesias had asked him for one of his treatises, Diogenes said, “What an ass you are, Hegesias! For you do not choose painted figs, but real ones; yet you neglect real training, and rush to read about it instead.”’ (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, trans. by Pamela Mensch, 6.49) There is no coincidence in Montaigne placing this saying next to other key ones from Diogenes in his chapter on educating children (Essais, I, 26), as it is grist to his mill of education being about actions rather than discourses. Yet to what degree do early modern French writers avoid merely falling into the Hegesias’s trap? And what light might ancient Cynicism and its refractions through early modern French literature shed onto the current climate of virtual teaching and research, which we might uncharitably call the golden age of the painted fig?
 
Join us to listen to Prof. Roberts and give him feedback.
 
Register for this Zoom event in advance. The paper was pre-circulated by email; if you didn't receive it, please email dlclevents@stanford.edu