Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Sorrow of Being"

"The Sorrow of Being"
Nicola Masciandaro (CUNY)

Thursday, November 12th, 6:30 p.m.
19 University Place, room 224
(non-NYU guests, please bring photo ID to sign into the building)

Sorrow seems universally related, in one way or another, to the principle of evil or privation. Sorrows of love, of loss, of pain, of disappointment, of conscience—all are barely thinkable without reference to some problematic object, the negative thing that one sorrows over. This relation is exemplified by Augustine’s definition of sorrow as counter-volition or refusal: “cum . . . dissentimus ab eo quod nolentibus accidit, talis voluntas tristitia est” [sorrow is the will’s disagreement with something that happened against our will]. But is there a form of sorrow that remains or emerges when all possible objects of sorrow are taken away, when there is nothing to sorrow over, a sorrow of being? The idea of such sorrow, a sorrow that takes sorrow beyond its own possibility, appears at once obvious and absurd. Existence simultaneously is and is not the greatest “something that happened against our will.” A pure sorrow, a perfect sorrow, a sorrow whose meaning is infinite? In dialogue with The Cloud of Unknowing and other late-medieval mystical texts, this lecture speculates about the nature of such sorrow and its relations to facticity, actuality, work, interpretation, and ecstasy.

If you have questions, please contact:

Liza Blake (elizabeth[dot]blake[at]nyu[dot]edu),
Katie Vomero Santos (kathryn[dot]vomero[at]nyu[dot]edu), or
Sarah Ostendorf (sco229[at]nyu[dot]edu).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bodily Effects of Visions

A reminder that Professor Gabor Klaniczay of the Central European University (Budapest), one of the world's leading experts in popular religion, saints' cults, magic, and witchcraft, will be speaking at Rutgers on Monday, 9 November, at 5:00 p.m., in Van Dyck Hall room 301. His presentation, "Bodily Effects of Visions: The Medieval Evidence," will treat visible marks of human interaction with the supernatural, and the uncertainty surrounding their interpretation (as mystical contact with God or as demonic), with special attention to the most famous physical mark of such contact, the stigmata.

New Directions in Medieval Scholarship

Pearl Kibre Medieval Study

Second Annual Roundtable

New Directions in Medieval Scholarship

November 13, 2009

2:00 p.m. ◊ Room 5414

CUNY Graduate Center


Ottavio Di Camillo, Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages, Graduate Center


Andrew Arlig, Department of Philosophy, Brooklyn College
Medieval philosophers and material objects

Marlene Hennessy, Department of English, Hunter College
Medieval ideas of reading, the book, and religious practice in late medieval England

Nicola Masciandaro, Department of English, Brooklyn College
“The Truth of Commentary”

Emily Tai, Department of History, Queensborough Community College
Medieval Mediterranean piracy

Following the presentations, all are encouraged to participate in open discussion regarding current trends in medieval studies. The roundtable will be followed by a reception.

We also invite everyone to attend the November 13 meeting of the Friends of the Saints at the GC, room 5105, at 7:00 p.m. Prof. Timmie Vitz of NYU will be speaking: Can we re-awaken the performance of the hagiographical folktale of the 'Seven Sleepers of Ephesus'?