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Worlds Together Shined: Bidel, Traherne, and Experiments in Comparison
This is Session 4 of the multidisciplinary workshop "Steadfast Imagining: Lyric Meditation, Islamic Philosophy, and Comparative Religion in the Works of Bidel of Delhi (d. 1720)." There are tantalizing similarities between the poetry of Bidel and his contemporaries and early modern English meditative poetry. These literary traditions are not in direct contact with each other, yet they operate in strikingly similar ways (for instance, in their assimilation of scientific ideas and engagement with philosophy and theology). Moreover, these poets are co-inheritors, through very different vectors, of Aristotealian rationalism, Neoplatonism, and Avicennan ideas. How should we think about traditions that are not in direct contact with each other, but have partially shared lineages? Timothy Harrison joins us to talk about our collaboration-in-progress. We are co-authoring an essay in which we investigate how Thomas Traherne and Bidel—living worlds apart, not at all in contact—come to compose strikingly similar accounts of infant experience (being in the womb, birth, first sensations, breastfeeding) at the same moment in the seventeenth century. In this session, we make a pitch for the importance of collaboration and discuss possible methods for comparing premodern European and Islamic literary traditions. In conversation with Timothy Harrison (English, University of Chicago).

Dec 11, 2020 01:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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