Frederick A. de Armas is set to deliver the 51st annual Christopher Longest Lecture at 6 p.m. in Bondurant Auditorium. A reception precedes the lecture at 5 p.m., and both events are free and open to the public.
His talk, “Art Made Flesh: Ekphrasis of Incarnation from Cervantes and Lope de Vega to Galdós and Vargas Llosa,” focuses on a curious metamorphosis used by Spanish writers from the 17th century to the present, looking at instances where descriptions of a work of art within a text lead to incarnation.
“In other words, we will discuss how brief glances at artworks in plays and novels serve as a point of departure for the images to come alive, to become human and interact with other characters within the text, like handsome Frankensteins made from a painting or a statue,” de Armas said. “The talk will consider the implication of such ‘transgressions,’ the effects on other characters and on the readers; and how the uses of this ‘living art’ change through the centuries in key Hispanic literary texts.”
Each year for the lecture, the Department of Modern Languages chooses the focus of the lecture by alternating among all the languages taught at UM, and this year, de Armas stood out when Spanish was chosen.
“He is a preeminent scholar in the field of Spanish literature and students and faculty who come will receive a rare professional treat,” said Donald Dyer, chair of modern languages. “He is very well respected in the field and is the author of many books. He is currently also the chair of the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Chicago, one of the finest academic institutions in the country.”
Most recently de Armas has published “Writing for the Eyes in the Spanish Golden Age,” (2004); “Ekphrasis in the Age of Cervantes,” (2005); “Quixotic Frescoes: Cervantes and Italian Renaissance Art” (2006) and “Don Quixote among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres” (2011). He has co-edited “Hacia la tragedia aurea: lecturas para un Nuevo milenio” (2008) and “Ovid in the Age of Cervantes” (2010).
The Christopher Longest Lecture Series was established at UM in 1960 by Ann Waller Reins Longest, in recognition of Christopher Longest’s distinguished service to the university from 1908 to 1951 in the departments of Classics and Modern Languages. The annual lecture series, sheltered in the departments of Modern Languages and English, features visiting scholars in these fields.
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