Erasmus Seminar: Erasmus on (Immoderate) Shame

donderdag 21 mrt 2024, 15:00 - 17:00
Gesproken taal
Theil Building C2-2, Erasmus University Rotterdam
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The Erasmus of Rotterdam Research Centre (ERRC) regularly organizes the so-called Erasmus Seminars, where we bring together academics who have an interest in Erasmus from their research. The content of the seminars is diverse, from discussions on recent publications to extensive lectures. On behalf of the ERRC, we cordially invite you to the upcoming seminar on Thursday, March 21st. During this meeting dr. Efi Papadodima (Academy of Athens; Erasmus University Rotterdam) will discuss Erasmus and his engagement with emotions.

What? Erasmus Seminar with a lecture by dr. Efi Papadodima
When? Thursday, March 21st, 15:00-17:00
Where? Erasmus University Rotterdam, Theil Building C2-2


Content of the seminar

Erasmus engages with the emotion of pudor or verecundia (“shame”, “bashfulness”, “modesty”) both in conceptual terms and in terms of his self-confessed personal association with that emotion. Several of Erasmus’ adages, for instance, outline ancient conceptions of shame (aidos, aischyne, pudor, verecundia), with particular reference to: (a) its physical manifestations and (b) its possible harmful effects on human life – when either its “dosage” or its timing proves inappropriate. This latter aspect seems to be especially relevant to Erasmus’ personal experience, since it also motivated him to translate Plutarch’s short essay Peri dysopias (from the collection Moralia). dysopia, as used by Plutarch pace the Atticists, has no exact equivalent in Latin – or in other common modern languages (Erasmus renders it vitiosa verecundia, literally “bad shame”, and also immodica verecundia, “immoderate shame”); it is defined as a pathos or a nosos, an affection or malady of the mind, which is idiosyncratic in so far as it is deemed vile only in term of its consequences. Since it seems to indicate the embarrassment that compels one to grant an importunate or unjustified request, it would be fair to say that the Plutarchean dysopia comes closer to the notion of “compliance” (thus, the LOEB translators P.H. De Lacy and B. Einarson). In the prefatory letter to this translated piece (Ep. 1663 Allen), Erasmus summarizes the Plutarchean material, before eventually disclosing that he himself has been suffering from this “disorder” throughout his life. This loaded statement is worth cross-checking against other instances of Erasmus’ self-presentation when it comes to the broader spectrum of shame and modesty.

Bio of dr. Papadodima

Efi Papadodima is a Senior Researcher in Classics at the Academy of Athens (Research Centre for Greek and Latin Literature) and a Visiting Fellow at the Erasmus of Rotterdam Research Centre. She specializes in ancient poetry, particularly Greek and Roman tragedy, and ancient ethics. She has authored three books and a variety of articles in these research areas. Her other research interests lie in the history of ideas and the reception of classical antiquity in the Early Modern period. In this latter field she is currently completing a monograph on the diverse ways in which Erasmus utilizes the classical tradition in his exploration of the multifaceted notion and the various manifestations of discordia.

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