PANEL 2: Friday 28 March, 10am
Geography in Renaissance Utopias II:
"From geography to poetry"
Carlos E.O. Berriel - University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
"Geografia e dissimulazione nell'Utopia di Morus"
Abstract of Carlos Berriel's paper
At the beginning of Book II of Utopia, Thomas More describes the adventures of a hypothetical navigator who approached the isle of Utopia: actually the navigator is none other than us, readers who, through this reading-navigation are approaching the idea of Utopia. However, the Utopians wish to protect themselves from our approach, having built a dangerous harbor, with “shallows on one side and rocks on the other.” “Since the other rocks lie under the water, they are very dangerous. The channels are known only to the Utopians, so hardly any strangers enter the bay without one of their pilots; and even they themselves could not enter safely if they did not direct their course by some landmarks on the coast.” Utopia has two meanings, the book and the island; the reader/navigator must avoid shipwreck on the reefs. The various references and meanings of the work, which are as many landmarks on the coast, frequently change places. Thus is it necessary to find one’s orientation through the ever-moving game of such indications.
Melinda Cro - Kansas State University, USA
"Reinventing the Pastoral Landscape: the Function of Setting in Honoré d'Urfé's Astrée."
Abstract of Melinda Cro's paper
That setting is important to most novels is self-evident, yet particularly true of pastoral literature. Pastoral, a popular mode of writing that underwent renewal in the Renaissance, relies on the familiar setting of Arcadia, an idyllic countryside where shepherds contemplate love, for its identity. However, the pastoral landscape is renewed and reconsidered in Honoré d’Urfé’s monumental Astrée (1607-27) where the author relocates the pastoral setting from ancient Greece to fifth-century France and the region of Forez. Because this was a popular mode at the time, the change of setting drew the reader’s attention to the authorial choice. In the novel, characters wander the countryside bordering the Lignon River and the protagonist travels beyond the pastoral setting, offering an opportunity to compare the geography of the pastoral realm with that of the surrounding areas. This paper seeks to examine the selection of Forez and the characteristics of this utopistic setting.
Abstract of Marie-Claire Phélippeau's paper
This paper intends to study the poetics of water in various 16th and 17th utopias or imaginary tales: Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627) and François Rabelais’s Gargantua (1534), Pantagruel (1532) and Quart Livre (1552). Based on Gaston Bachelard and Gilbert Durand’s research, the analysis intends to highlight the function of the aquatic element in the writing of fantastic tales inspired notably by Lucian (A True Story). Water being the infinitely malleable substance, endowed with plural metaphors and in turn positively and negatively valued, it plays multiple roles in poetic imagination which this analysis will try to determine.