Report

This international conference brought together classical reception specialists and scholars from the fields of modern European (art) history, drama and film. The packed programme included 26 papers on a wide range of topics, from serious and comical political appropriations of Hercules to his appearance in video games, as well as in film, theatre and young adult literature.

Compositer image from the conference

Emma Stafford introduces Hercules Drawn, chaired by Tony Keenm; Sam Gartland speaks about Herakles in Space; material from speakers’ papers.

Full details of the programme are available on the conference website, but highlights included:

  • Jon Solomon (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign)ː The convergence of family values, computer-generated monsters, and cleavage in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
  • Ayelet Peer (Bar Ilan University): The labours of Hercules-Sama
  • Alexandra Eppinger (University of Mainz): Hercules the younger? Heroic allusions in late eighteenth century British political cartoons
  • the contemporary composer, Tim Benjamin, on the composition of the new oratorio, Herakles.

Two papers to supplement those presented at the conference were recorded by speakers unable to travel to Leeds, and all papers were recorded, so that they might be made available to delegates after the conference as podcasts (with Powerpoint slides and other supporting material).  A total of 32 delegates attended in person, and a further 5 were registered as ‘virtual delegates’, with access to the podcast site.

Feedback

Feedback from the conference was overwhelmingly positive.  Many delegates paid informal compliments to the organisers, and 62.5% returned a questionnaire.  Comments included:

  • The conference was even more useful than I anticipated.
  • There was a healthy mix among speakers of research that seemed new within the individual speaker’s sub-field and research that showed that the individual was pushing a status quaestionis forward.
  • The conference was an opportunity not only to meet new people working on various aspects of Hercules, but also to get reacquainted with colleagues I had met at the previous Hercules conference in Leeds in 2013
  • The *best* organised conference!

The virtual conference website, containing podcasts and materials has been praised as useful for delegates who attended in person to check information as well as for those who were not able to attend in person. Free-form feedback credits it with being “Very useful!”.

The full conference report can be downloaded: Conference Report_2017 (596kB pdf).

The organisers would like to thank all those who contributed to making the conference such a success, including our sponsors: