Graduate Scholar Talk - March 7, 2019

Languages of Descent: Underworlds in Text and Music

Speaker: Jennifer Gillespie Rhodes, Department of Italian

Jennifer Rhodes is a Core Lecturer in Literature Humanities. She holds a PhD in Italian and Comparative Literature and Society from Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2017). Her research investigates the ways in which narratives travel across the permeable membranes of language, culture, medium, and time. This talk explored these pathways with regard to one particular type of narrative: the descent into hell. How do artists represent the unrepresentable? In what ways can language and sound shift to accommodate the needs of this journey? By exploring dimensions of narrative descents in the works of Dante Alighieri, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Richard Wagner, and Hector Berlioz, this talk will explore ways in which innovations in language and sound can adapt form to (otherworldly) function.