Literary Windows

Event Date: 
25 Sep 2017 to 26 Sep 2017

Imitative Series and Clusters in Literature (Classical to Early Modern)

All Souls’ College, Oxford


Registration is now open.

Conference fee: £30 per day (full-time students: £24 per day)

Registration closes on 15 September, or as soon as fully booked.

The programme includes papers on literature in Ancient Greek, Latin, Middle-Irish, Neo-Latin, English, French, Italian, Polish and Portuguese.


See for further details, including a downloadable programme and a link to the registration page.

The aim of this conference is to highlight the pervasiveness, varieties and significance of a particular literary device – that of “window reference” or “two-tier allusion” – which was present throughout classical, medieval and early modern literatures. This is a device whereby a text imitates a direct antecedent while at the same time signalling an awareness of how the passage imitated was itself linked to the work of previous prestigious authors.


This is one of the means used by successive writers in Europe to link their work to preceding literary traditions. In many cases, it provided a way of commenting on previous authors’ value systems and asserting one’s own. By focusing on how it was deployed in a wide variety of contexts this conference will allow the public to see both the unity and divergences within those cultures, and how these were constructed in practical terms.


The conference will give scholarship a commonly accepted term for this kind of literary practice and alert scholars to its importance. We expect that as a result of this conference many more instances will be discovered, leading to a wider appreciation and more thorough understanding of literary texts, certainly up to the early modern period and probably beyond, and of the intertextual networks with which these texts engaged.



We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Society for Renaissance Studies.

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