Presentation Title

Tragic Arithmetic: The Nature of the Woven in Aeschylus' Agamemnon as Mathematical

Faculty Mentor

Professor Damian Stocking

Start Date

17-11-2018 8:15 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 8:30 AM

Location

C305

Session

Oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

The Ancient Greek word περόνη (peróne) appears deceptively simple: this Greek noun for pin invokes activities such as weaving on a loom, wearing as a brooch on a toga, or binding together disconnected fabrics. However, it is also a small tool that holds together the crucial, balanced juncture between Oedipus’s ignorance and realization of his prophecy. Anthropologically, the pin is a piece of technology; functionally, it is a violent, blindness-causing weapon. Freudian thought examines the phallic connotations of the pin’s verticality and scholars of gender studies read the pin as a piece of female jewelry. Without denying the significance of these analyses, I want to approach the pin from a different angle: what if it can be read as a mathematical object--an object that, in its piercing and crossing of plot-boundaries, marks a certain linguistic ‘geometry’ and balancing of plot-spaces in Greek tragedies? Its slender verticality unravels and re-plots an entirely new manner of reading and making sense of these texts’ words and worlds. Of course, Greek literature teems with gender, violence, and reflections on being. The Greeks experienced the world mathematically: in their architecture, their poetry, their thought. Aristotle says in his Metaphysics that the chief forms of beauty are order, symmetry, and definiteness—as are apparent in math. My research seeks to investigate the pin in its linguistic and semantic orderings—in the symmetries of grammar it brings to attention—as a way to understand the Greeks and their tragedies, guided by the philosophy of Pythagoras and Edmund Husserl, via close readings of Aeschylus' tragedy the Agamemnon as well as immersion in the abstractions of mathematical and theoretical approaches to interpretation. More broadly, this project designs this peculiar ‘geometry of the tragic’ by using an entirely new method of literary analysis, delving into the mathematical currents that underlie our human existence.

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Nov 17th, 8:15 AM Nov 17th, 8:30 AM

Tragic Arithmetic: The Nature of the Woven in Aeschylus' Agamemnon as Mathematical

C305

The Ancient Greek word περόνη (peróne) appears deceptively simple: this Greek noun for pin invokes activities such as weaving on a loom, wearing as a brooch on a toga, or binding together disconnected fabrics. However, it is also a small tool that holds together the crucial, balanced juncture between Oedipus’s ignorance and realization of his prophecy. Anthropologically, the pin is a piece of technology; functionally, it is a violent, blindness-causing weapon. Freudian thought examines the phallic connotations of the pin’s verticality and scholars of gender studies read the pin as a piece of female jewelry. Without denying the significance of these analyses, I want to approach the pin from a different angle: what if it can be read as a mathematical object--an object that, in its piercing and crossing of plot-boundaries, marks a certain linguistic ‘geometry’ and balancing of plot-spaces in Greek tragedies? Its slender verticality unravels and re-plots an entirely new manner of reading and making sense of these texts’ words and worlds. Of course, Greek literature teems with gender, violence, and reflections on being. The Greeks experienced the world mathematically: in their architecture, their poetry, their thought. Aristotle says in his Metaphysics that the chief forms of beauty are order, symmetry, and definiteness—as are apparent in math. My research seeks to investigate the pin in its linguistic and semantic orderings—in the symmetries of grammar it brings to attention—as a way to understand the Greeks and their tragedies, guided by the philosophy of Pythagoras and Edmund Husserl, via close readings of Aeschylus' tragedy the Agamemnon as well as immersion in the abstractions of mathematical and theoretical approaches to interpretation. More broadly, this project designs this peculiar ‘geometry of the tragic’ by using an entirely new method of literary analysis, delving into the mathematical currents that underlie our human existence.