Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Harriette Andreadis Answers Our Questions

We asked colloquium presenter Harriette Andreadis (Dept. of English) about her work, her presentation, and herself. Here is what she told us:

What is your presentation’s argument?

This presentation examines translations of Ovid’s Heroides as they evolve from the late sixteenth century into the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It focuses on the figure of Sappho in the fifteenth epistle as the principal guide to the trajectory of an Ovidian erotics that develops within a changing literary and cultural context in early modern London. My analysis begins with a brief survey of early translations and then explores in detail the additions, variations, and accretions that occur in the many editions (from 1680 until at least 1727) of “Ovid’s Epistles, translated by several hands,” originally gathered by John Dryden and published by Jacob Tonson both during and after Dryden’s lifetime, as well as the significance of the parodies of Dryden’s collection and the independent life taken on, a century later, by Sir Carr Scrope’s translation for Dryden of “Sappho to Phaon.” My work contributes to our knowledge of the life of literary coteries in early modern London, of early book history as it was guided by an important London publisher, and of early modern gender dynamics as they were mediated by London literary circles and their relation to the classics.

How did you hit on the focus of your current research and what interests you about it?

I was asked to give a plenary talk on Ovid's Heroides in London and so I extended a section of my 2001 book on English translations of the “Sappho to Phaon” epistle. What interests me most about the project is the new directions in which it has taken me, particularly in the history of printing and London literary coteries.

• What is the most interesting place your research has taken you?

Geographical? Intellectual? This project has taken me for a wonderful visit to London. It has also moved my thinking in some enjoyable new directions.

• What is the favorite course that you teach, and why?

I can't answer this. I like all my courses equally at different times and for different reasons. Mostly, for me, enjoyment comes from the triangulated dynamic between a given subject matter, my students, and myself. I don't teach material I don't like, so what matters most to me is the intellectual curiosity of my students.

• If you had the opportunity to invite any living humanities scholar to come speak at the Glasscock Center, who would it be and why?

Scholar/researchers I'd really like to hear and meet in person are V. S. Ramachandran, Antonio Damasio, and Michael Pollan.

• If you were stranded on a desert island, what material would you want with you?

Material? I'd want binoculars, flippers, goggles, and a camera so I could explore the flora and fauna on the island and in the waters around it.