5th International Summer School in Latin Literature


Department of Classics, University of Heidelberg
5th-10th August 2019


The fifth International Summer School for Latin Literature is issuing a call for participation! As in previous years, interested students both from Germany and abroad are cordially invited to Heidelberg to discuss together a range of central topics in the field of Roman literature and culture. This year the Summer school will explore the parallelism between Texts and Bodies, combining the reading of selected Latin passages with modern critical theory on corporality. Our aim is to offer students the opportunity of academic exchange within an international and interdisciplinary environment.


Texts as Bodies: analysis of a Latin analogy

The conceptualisation of Text as Body is a central pattern of thought in ancient reflection on artistic creation, a métaphore vive (Ricoeur) which is ubiquitous across several genres in Latin Literature. From a linguistic point of view, it is significant that in Latin, as in several modern languages, textual structures are described by referring to anatomical parts of the human body (caput/ head, pes/prosodic foot, corpus/collection of texts). More importantly, imagining a text as a body encourages us to consider carefully the epistemic implications generated by the analogy: how does the materiality of the body (its coherence/fragmentation, its vulnerability/invulnerability, its closeness/openness) address theoretical aspects of the literary work?

In what follows we will sketch some possible directions of research, which the participants are welcome to use as a suggestion for themes that are to be discussed for their presentations.

  1. Body mirroring texts: by what linguistic, intertextual and structural means is it possible to argue for the metaliterary pertinence of a specific bodily description? A case in point is the body of elegiac puellae in Latin love poetry, whose physical characteristics often mirror the aesthetic principles of amatory poetics.
  2. Texts mirroring bodies: how does the personification of a text work, such as in the case of the speaking papyrus in Catullus 35?
  3. Body/texts metaphors and ancient literary theory: how can be the body analogy used to define the “Dos and Don’t”s of a specific compositional process? Let us think for example of the controversary beginning of the Ars Poetica (1-5), in which Horace introduces the grotesque body of a woman, composed by human and animal parts, to discuss the rules of literary composition. On this same perspective, we can also cite the famous passage in which Tacitus compares oratory to a wellfunctioning body (Dial. 21).
  4. Body/texts metaphors in encyclopaedic and technical writings: how does the semantic framework of the body impact the representation of acquiring, organizing and transmitting knowledge in texts, such as in Vitruvius’ De Architectura or Celsus’ De Medicina, that explicitly deal with the task of putting together or updating a disciplinary corpus?
  5. Ancient bodies in reception: what happens when an iconic ancient literary body is reworked in a later context? In what ways does this process affect the relation between the tradition represented by the primary source and the reception text?

In our conference, these questions and others like them will be applied to a broad selection of Roman texts from a variety of genres, which will be read and interpreted in group seminars. The course is aimed at students in the field of Classics. Advanced students and students of other subjects are also welcome to take part, so long as they have a proven knowledge of the Latin language.


People and Program

  • The Summer School will take place from the 5th-10th of August 2019 in Heidelberg.
  • The organizers of the Summer School are: Dr. Giovanna Laterza (Heidelberg) and Prof. Luciano César Garcia Pinto (Universidade Federal de São Paulo).
  • Presentations by researchers from Heidelberg and other institutions will complement the program.
  • Group activities are also planned.


Course information

  • The working languages of the Summer School will be German and English. Alongside active participation in discussions, it is expected that participants give a short presentation. If required, a certificate of attendance can be issued.
  • Each participant will be expected to pay 120 € for the course, which will be used to cover such costs as catering, course materials, extra-curricular activities, etc.
  • Accommodation costs are the responsibility of the participant, but we can suggest cheap accommodation options to participants who are coming from outside the Heidelberg area.



Since the number of participants is limited, we kindly ask that you send your application to textalskorpersommerschule@gmail.com by the 1st of May 2019. Applications can be written in either German or English. The file should be in pdf format and the document should not exceed two pages.

Please include the following:

  • a short CV (including information about languages skills – Good Latin is a must, while ancient Greek would be useful. Please also indicate your level of English and/or German).
  • a short cover letter (max. 500 words) introducing yourself and your reasons for wanting to take part in the Summer School, and also including suggestions for the text passage that you would like to study.
  • contact details of an academic teacher who would be ready to act as an informal referee when approached in the application process.

At the latest by the end of May, you will receive notification of whether you have been accepted into the program. Further information will be sent out at that time. We look forward to reading your applications – and ultimately, to spending an exciting week together in Heidelberg!