Northwestern Events Calendar


Jennifer Weintritt - Editing Gender Fluidity in an Unstable Text: Catullus’ Attis poem and its Editors

When: Friday, March 5, 2021
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Central

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Andrew Hull  

Group: The Classics Cluster

Category: Academic


Please join the Classics Cluster for a talk presented by our own Jennifer Weintritt titled "Editing Gender Fluidity in an Unstable Text: Catullus’ Attis poem and its Editors"

Abstract: In the fifth line of Catullus 63, a young man named Attis castrates himself. The narrator promptly responds by grammatically re-gendering Attis as feminine. What follows is a shifting account of Attis’ gender identity through the eyes of several parties—the narrator, Attis, and the goddess Cybele. To produce a legible text, textual critics must join this list: six disputed gender markers in the transmitted text force editors to assign a gender to Attis, even as the poem calls it into question. This paper sketches the poem’s editorial history through the different choices that textual critics have made. Based on the explanations offered in their prefaces and commentaries, I argue that textual critics’ understanding of gender and its fluidity are inseparable from the version of Catullus’ poem and, consequently, of Attis’ gender that readers encounter in their editions.

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