Interstellar skies: The Lunar Passage in Literature through the Ages
Hven, Sweden (connections via Copenhagen), 4th–6th August 2018
Lisa R. Messeri (Yale), anthropologist of science and technology
Matthew Francis (Aberystwyth), British poet and author
Journeys to the moon, visions of the Earth in space, and manned voyages among the stars may epitomise the technological achievement of the Apollo Era, but they have been sources of inspiration to thinkers, poets, and artists since antiquity.
This interdisciplinary symposium, hosted by the Centre for Medieval Literature (Odense and York), seeks to bring together specialists in literary studies, the natural sciences, and the anthropology of space exploration to think about the lunar passage in literature, and the kinds of cultural commentary it has enabled. We will ask how literatures – from Cicero’s Dream of Scipio to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince – conceptualized the Earth’s planetary condition, and theorized human futures in space. We will also examine the ways in which the European Middle Ages is invoked in discourses about space exploration today: from the Ulysses and Viking space probes, to ongoing discourses about space ‘colonisation’. We invite papers from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives on any topic related to the historical perception of space. We are particularly interested in perspectives that traverse periodisations and historical moments. Topics may include:
Perceptions of space in premodern literature
Lunar travel narratives
Premodern ‘science fictions’
The anthropology of space exploration
Views of the Earth from space
Literature and technology
Classicisms and medievalisms in space exploration
The symposium will commemorate the half-centenary of Earthrise (1968), one of the earliest – and most famous – images of the Earth from the moon’s surface, at the place where the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe had his observatory.
Please send abstracts (c. 300 words) and a short biography to Dale Kedwards (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Centre for Medieval Literature no later than 14th May 2018.