Deadline (extended) 15 February 2015
24-25 April 2015, University of Chicago. Keynote Address: Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of Humanities for Italian, Yale University; Closing Address: Dr. Hendrik Dey, Professor of Art History, Hunter College. The students of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in the specialization of Italian and the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago invite papers for an interdisciplinary graduate student conference. All current graduate students, as well as junior scholars in Art History, Literature, and related disciplines are invited to submit an abstract to this conference.

The motto “Love conquers all” has become ubiquitous for love’s ability to overcome all obstacles, physical as well as psychological, that impede the union of two lovers. However, in its original context “amor vincit omnia” in Virgil actually refers to love’s ability to destroy both the lover and the beloved; the speaker of this phrase, Gallus, immediately kills himself after its declaration. The destructive nature of love has been addressed by Italian artists and writers from antiquity to modern times. Virgil’s depiction of Dido, Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne, Dante’s Paolo and Francesca, Verdi’s Aida, and, more recently, Fellini’s Cabiria and De Chirico’s Ariadne all explore love’s disastrous consequences. This conference aims to explore the varieties of representation of sorrowful love and its evolution over time; new understandings that can be gleaned from a variety of evidence; and dialogue and divergence between portrayals of tragic Italian love across the Humanities.
We seek papers that address the theme of Amor vincit omnia, or love as a motivator for the demise of the self or the destruction of the object of desire. Potential topics this conference seeks to examine include, but are not limited to:
  • Objects of desire: variations of Venus, the Donna Angelicata, and Adonis, and the effect of gender on portrayals of both the lover and the beloved
  • Unorthodoxy in depictions of sexuality
  • Portraiture, funeral monuments, and elegies as expressions of longing or loss
  • Funeral processions and the relationship of death and urbanism
  • Tragedy within the familial or Platonic framework
  • Narcissism as an impetus towards self-destruction
  • Suicide and self-harm as a result of unrequited or deceptive love
  • Alienation from Godly or spiritual love
  • Love misdirected at animals or the inanimate
  • Philosophies of tragic love in art and literature
  • Portrayals or imitations of the Italian lover in theater
  • Self-destructive love through the medium of cinema
  • Theories, remedies, and consequences of lovesickness
  • Music’s ability to provoke and dramatize tragic love
 Please email a 250 word abstract to the conference organizers  by 15 February 2015 (extended), including your Name, C.V., and any technology requests. Abstracts will be accepted in English, Italian, and French. 

Officers & Contacts