The Enslaved Muse - a talk by Dr Tom Geue

The Friends of the Classics Museum invite you to a talk by Dr Tom Geue, a Latin literature specialist and newly arrived staff member in the Centre for Classical Studies at ANU.

The Muse is part of the furniture of classical poetry. By the time of Virgil, we barely notice she is there, and her importance as a repository of poetic tradition seems scaled back. But what difference does it make that Roman poetry tended to be composed with a ‘real’ muse in the room, an enslaved literate secretary transcribing dictated verses, reading them back, copying them out, even editing them? Does it matter that an enslaved muse provided real material assistance to the poet even as the poet thanked some remote mythical goddess for her troubles? When we make space for the enslaved muse, Latin literature starts to look very different.

Dr Tom Geue teaches Latin at the Australian National University. His 2019 book, Author Unknown, proposed some new ways of working with anonymous authorship. His current project, Major Corrections: An Intellectual Biography of SebastianoTimpanaro (forthcoming 2024), is a story of an unlikely combination of interests - technical philology and militant Marxism - working together towards full human flourishing. Tom is also a recent recipient of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, which will fund further research on slavery and Latin literature.

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