Past Events

Guest Lecture, Oct. 1: David Wellbery on Lessing’s Laokoon

October 1, 2020, 4-6 pm The reading group Ekphrasis in conjunction with the Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures is happy to announce the following guest lecture by Dr. David E. Wellbery (University of Chicago). David E. Wellbery will join the reading group on Thursday October 1st, 2020 from 4-6pm to discuss passages from Lessing’s Laokoon oder über die Grenzen der Mahlerey und Poesie (1766) with reference to the overarching theme of ekphrasis. Lessing’s Laokoon has outlived most of its contemporaries in 18th-century criticism and the reason for its abiding influence may well be that it gets to the core conceptual issues with incomparable clarity. Lessing’s Laokoon appears to be foremost an analysis of ekphrastic passages from Vergil in order to critique Horaz’ ut pictura poesis as well as Winckelmann’s idealization of Ancient sculptures and art. What strikes us nowadays about Laokoon is the self-referentiality envisioned in the use of ekphrasis as a critique of an approach intermingling between description/depiction in terms of spatiality and the temporality of narration. As if the critique as genre is to stand apart from aesthetic categories and, thus, would allow for a naïve use of ekphrasis; quite ironic to some extent. In addition, Lessing’s writing as ... Read More »