Scholars@Hallwalls: Amy Graves Monroe, “Ex machina: The Tragedy in the Machine”
April 13, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
This talk argues for a deep connection between the rise of Pascalian probability, the interest in automata, the use of theater machines, and Aristotelian ideas of dramatic verisimilitude (i.e., likelihood) and catastrophe. As an interpretation of Aristotle, the Classical unities of time, place and action seek to formalize the circumstances of a happening on the stage. Drama becomes a forum for performing cause and effect, probing probability, exploring plausible outcomes, and wondering about the nature fate, chance, and necessity. The early modern play is a meditation on what constitutes an event.
Amy Graves Monroe is Associate Professor of French in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department. Her book Post tenebras lex: preuves et propagande dans l’historiographie engagée de Simon Goulart, (Geneva, Droz, 2012) explores how religious propaganda and pamphlet literature engages questions of testimony, documentary proof and history writing during the French Wars of Religion. She has worked on the Reformation(s) in the early modern period, print culture and ephemera, political thought and sovereignty, Montaigne, early modern sensory perception and affect, martyrs, neo-stoicism and satire. Her current project studies the early modern perception of the ‘event’ as a happening and charts ideas of prediction and probability as they evolve toward the threshold of modernity.
Scholars@Hallwalls is a free and open-to-the-public series. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres served.