17.01.2018 · 19.00 Uhr

John Zilcosky (University of Toronto): Wrestling, or The Art of Disentangling Bodies

Ort: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum

Why did Plato write so much about wrestling? One explanation is biographical: he was an avid wrestler; »Plato« was his ring name, describing his »broad« shoulders. But a quick glance at Plato’s writings reveals more than biographical interest. As he knew, wrestling was not just ancient Greece’s most popular sport. It was arguably its most prominent cultural metaphor—used to delineate cunning, sexuality, virtuosity, and more. More than this, wrestling was central to the elementary education of Greek boys—to paideia in all its senses. As Plato understood, controlling wrestling’s meaning meant controlling vital aspects of culture and politics. Correspondingly, he proposed instructing wrestling according to particular precepts that reached well beyond technique – toward a revolutionizing of mythical discourses about the body and the soul. With the stakes around wrestling so high, it is not surprising that post-Platonic writers and thinkers continued to contest its significance—through the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, and the present day.

Der Vortrag wird auf Englisch gehalten.

John Zilcosky ist Professor für German and Comparative Literature an den Departments Germanic Languages & Literatures und Comparative Literature der University of Toronto. Er ist Mitglied der Redaktionsleitung der German Studies series von Continuum Press and Legenda Books, des Beirats des Kafka Research Centre der Oxford University und Ehrenpräsident des ICLA Research Committee on Literary Theory.
Auf Vorschlag von Stefan Willer (ZfL)  erhielt er 2017 den Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel-Forschungspreis der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung.

Publikationen (Auswahl):

  • Uncanny Encounters. Literature, Psychoanalysis and the End of Alterity (Evanston, Ill. 2016)
  • Writing Travel. The Poetics and Politics of the Modern Journey (Hg., Toronto 2008)
  • Kafka’s Travels. Exoticism, Colonialism, and the Traffic of Writing (New York 2003)