Working Papers by Author

Christian Kaesser - Classics Department, Stanford University


090906 Rudolf Pfeiffer. A Catholic Classicist in the Age of Protestant "Altertumswissenschaft"
Christian Kaesser, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: The basic question this paper addresses is the way in which Catholic classicist in Germany’s south and Catholics in general reacted to Wolf’s Altertumswissenschaft, which was inspired by Prussia’s ‘Kulturprotestantismus’, developed by Protestant scholars, and tied to the institutions of Protestant Prussia. It approaches the question through a case study of Rudolf Pfeiffer, who was one of very few Catholic classicists who flourished within the institutional framework of Altertumswissenschaft. It identifies unique features in Pfeiffer’s scholarship in comparison to his Protestant colleagues and examines the extent to which they can be explained by his Catholic upbringing and the tradition of studying Classics it inspired.

090802 Causes and Cases. On the Aetiologies of Aetiological Elegies
Christian Kaesser, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: The paper examines why at the beginning of Callimachus’ Aitia, in Propertius 4.1, and more indirectly in the proem to Ovid’s Fasti there appear literary critics (the Telchines, Horus, and Augustus), who charge the aetiological poet for the quality of his work. It points out that these charges, when translated into Greek, are aitiai, and that the poets’ defenses, when translated into Latin, are causae. It argues that the function of these proems is to present the poet as the cause of his poem. It is also interested in the way Propertius and Ovid adapt Callimachus’ Greek conceit to the different cultural and linguistic context of Rome.

100801 The Mole on the Face. Erotic Rhetoric in Ovid’s "Amores"
Christian Kaesser, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: The paper examines the role of formal rhetoric in Ovid’s Amores. It points out that while in modern aesthetics the experience of art is dissociated from the experience of love and sex, the ancients had developed an erotic aesthetics that associated the two. Recalling the metaphor that describes a text as a body and the ancient view according to which rhetoric could make a text appealing just like cosmetics could a real body, it argues that Ovid uses formal rhetoric to inspire in his readers desire for his text. The appearance of voluptas in the epigram to Amores 1 confirms this view. It also suggests that the eroticization of Ovid’s text resonates within the contemporary political situation in Rome, where sex had become a matter of politics.