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Imagine There's a Tragelaph: Phantasia and Aesthetics in the Middle Byzantine Period (Ⅸ–Ⅻ Century)

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan, Fellow 2010/11

During the two terms of my fellowship I managed to complete a bibliographical survey which has paved the way for the first draft of my monograph on imagination in Byzantine aesthetics (provisional title: Fantasizing Gazes: Imagination and the Beholder in Byzantine Aesthetics). I completed three chapters devoted to imagination and emotions from the third to the ninth century CE. I also worked extensively on the third part of the book, dealing with the notion of fictionality both in art theory and in literature in the post-iconoclastic era and delivered a paper at Harvard on the subject. Moreover I finished and submitted a paper on visual imagination and sense perception in Byzantine culture from the seventh through the ninth century (for Knotenpunkt Byzanz, Miscellanea Mediaevalia 36, de Gruyter, 2011). Along with this major project I have been working on a paper focused on Synesios's treatise on dreams against the background of Patriarch Theophilos's anti-Origenistic politics in early fifth-century Alexandria (for the Brepols volume Synesios von Kyrene. Politik - Literatur - Philosophie). I also completed two more papers. The first one deals with the character of Thersites in Aeneas of Gaza, at the crossroads between pantomime and rhetorical exercises, for the volume Lectures et commentaires rhétoriques d'Homère par les Anciens (Rue d'Ulm - Presse de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure 2012). The second one is a literary study of the logos eucharisterios of John Eugenicus, to be submitted to Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. To sum up, it has been a wonderful year, and not just for my research. I had eight months full of amazing experiences, unforgettable friendships, and warm, human relationships.

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