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Ghost Stories for Grown-Ups: Warburg’s Mnemosyne and the Afterlife of Pagan Antiquity

Wed. 6pm Eastern

Course Description: In each session of this class, we will discuss a panel of Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas. Using the art historian’s famous unfinished project to contemplate the survival of pagan antiquity in later cultural forms, we will learn about what Warburg called “ghost stories for the very adult.” As we develop our own strategies for working with Mnemosyne, we will also learn how to use Cornell’s interactive website, which charts different paths through the Atlas. We will read, too, some short texts on Warburg, his methods, and legacy; these I will supply.


Level: Background in Classics and/or Art History will be helpful, but not strictly necessary. The course will be taught in English.
Textbook: As optional supplements, students are encouraged to acquire Didi-Huberman’s  The Surviving Image (“L’image survivante” [2002]) and/or Agamben’s Nymphs (“Ninfe” [2007]). Instructor will direct students to the free, electronic version of Warburg’s collected essays, published in The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity.
Sections capped at: 5 students. If the course is sold-out, please fill out this waiting-list form.

Regular price $250.00

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Kristen Hook

Kristen is a Ph.D. student in UC Berkeley’s department of Italian Studies, where she also received an M.A. Prior to graduate study, she earned a B.A. in Italian Studies and Latin from the American University of Rome, worked for Paideia’s Rome office, and participated in FIDEM’s program in Medieval manuscript studies.

She specializes in late-Medieval and Renaissance literature and philosophy, with a background in Dante studies. Her current work is on the reception of Guido Cavalcanti in the circle of Marsilio Ficino.