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Abstract | Love Is in the Hands: Looking for Traces of Affective Relationship Between Human and Object in Votive Epigrams

This paper comprises two parts. The first section will give an insight into my global project on “feelings for objects in ancient Greece”, by bringing together two inanimate objects that arouse strong feelings of empathy and affection: the first one comes from a Hollywood movie (Wilson, the volleyball in Cast Away, by R. Zemeckis), the second one from a Greek tragedy (the bow of Philoctetes, in the play by Sophocles produced in 409 BC). In each case, this affection for an object that is the only companion of the main character’s finds its climactic expression when the object is lost or stolen, painfully separated from the hands of his possessor. This comparison will highlight that contemporary cinema and ancient theater share at least some conventions in the ways in which display of emotions towards objects can be expressed. The second section will then explore whether in Greek society, in a large-scale chronology, the social and cultural parameters regulating votive offerings allowed any representation or display of emotions, when individuals gave up to objects that they dedicated to the gods.

About Anne-Sophie Noel

Anne-Sophie Noel (PhD University of Lyon) graduated from the École Normale Supérieure of Lyon, and has completed her PhD thesis at the University of Lyon 3 in 2012. She is currently an associate researcher at HiSoMA (Histoires et Sources des Mondes Antiques, UMR 5189, Lyon). She has taught on a wide range of subjects, in the field of Classics and French literature, at secondary and academic levels (University of Lyon 3, Paris X and Exeter). Her first research interests lied in Greek and Roman drama, particularly in ancient performance of Greek tragedy and comedy: her thesis was a comprehensive study of the theatrical objects in Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides' dramas, which also questioned modern reception and modern stagings of the objects of ancient tragedy. She is also part of a teamwork devoted to the translation and commentary of Pollux' Onomasticon, book IV (Paris) and she collaborates to a project of translation and commentary of the ancient sources about the spectators in the Antiquity (GDR THEATHRE, Paris). While at the CHS, Anne-Sophie will be developing her new research project on the expression of feelings for objects in Ancient Greece, at the crossroads of literature, cultural history, material culture and anthropology. A performer and amateur stage director, she produced several shows of ancient Greek tragedies in the past years, and is also one of the editors of the French online review Agôn, dedicated to the performing arts.

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