Symposium: Metamorphosis, Transformation, and Conversion

Metamorphosis, Transformation, and Conversion:
A symposium on Ovid, Lyly, and Benserade

January 29, 2016, 9:30am-5:15pm
Rackham West Conference Room, 915 E Washington, Ann Arbor
Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan

The symposium seeks to broaden the concept of conversion beyond the (undeniably world-historical) import of religious conversion, both voluntary and enforced, to consider how conversion might (or might not) open up new ways of thinking about other forms and discourses of transformation in early modernity. It focuses on early modern translations and uses of Ovid’s tale of “Iphis and Ianthe” as well as two stageplays that were influenced by it: John Lyly’s Galatea (c. 1585) and Issac de Benserade’s Iphis et Iante (1637). University of Michigan faculty and graduate students as well as several visitors will approach these texts from a wide variety of perspectives, including examinations of gender and transgender, sexuality and gallantry, anatomy and alchemy, pedagogy and service, modernity and climate change. Hailing from departments of French and English and representing medieval, Renaissance and eighteenth-century studies, the speakers will provide an exciting day of conversation.


Schedule (download as pdf)

Continental Breakfast

Welcome and Opening Questions
Valerie Traub, University of Michigan

Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Premodernity
• Doug Trevor, University of Michigan: Chair
• Peggy McCracken, University of Michigan: “Moralizing Metamorphosis
• Kathleen Long, Cornell University: “Women who Degenerate into Men: The Story of Iphis in Early Modern Science”
• Marjorie Rubright, University of Toronto: “TRANS*: Iphis and the World of Wordes


Lyly’s Galatea
• Steven Mullaney, University of Michigan: Chair
• Eliza Mathie, University of Michigan: “Subject to Change: Submission and Self-Transformation in Lyly’s Galatea
• Patricia Badir, University of British Columbia: “You are now in Lyncolnshire”
• Katherine Eggert, University of Colorado: “Alchemy, Humanism, and Other Useful Bad Ideas in Lyly’s Galatea


Benserade’s Iphis et Iante
• George Hoffman, University of Michigan: Chair
• Matthieu Dupas, University of Michigan: “Gallantry and the (In)Significance of Lesbian Desire in 17th-Century France: The Case of Benserade’s Iphis et Iante
• Susan Lanser, Brandeis University: “Changing the Ways of the World: Sex, Youth, and Modernity in Benserade’s Iphis et Iante

Wrap Up
Valerie Traub, University of Michigan