Ambiguous Figures of Desire (AFD)

Project leader


Funding source

EU Seventh Framework Programme - Marie Curie

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2012
End date: 31/12/2014
Funding: 181418 EUR


This project will challenge existing perceptions through a significant reappraisal of the role of classical mythology as afiguration of desire in late renaissance and baroque poetry - concentrating mainly on Spanish and Italian texts, but alsoincluding excursions to English, French, German, and Scandinavian literature. The working hypothesis of my project is 1)that late renaissance and baroque literature reflects an ambiguous preoccupation with an issue that we today tend to see in amore unequivocally positive light - eroticism; and 2) that this preoccupation shows most explicitly in what may be termed themythological poetry of the period.The outcome of my project will be a re-contextualization of the investigated late renaissance and baroque erotic-mythologicalmasterpieces and anticipated conclusions include 1) the affirmation that late renaissance and baroque poets' representationof human desire through the stories and figures of ancient mythology, in its striking audacity and even frankness, in manyrespects recalls modern attitudes to eroticism, yet is also significantly more self-conscious, self-relativizing or reflective;2) the assertion that this ambivalence does have to do with the historical moment, and should be seen as an expressionof the complex interaction of various epistemological paradigms particularly characteristic of the late sixteenth and earlyseventeenth century.The research objectives will be achieved through a combination of empirical research and theoretical reflexions, and resultswill be published, during the project period, in the form of journal articles (a empirical and a theoretical essay), and gatheredinto a coherent whole at the end of the project period.The subject, classical mythology (pan-European heritage and a field of strong transnational impact), is obviously relevant tothe Work Programme, and the proposal will significantly contribute to the long overdue re-historicization of premodern eroticliterature.

Last updated on 2017-13-09 at 11:08