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Success for international conference 'What's in a Variant?'

3 February 2010

Professor Richard Buxton hosted an extremely successful half-day international conference on 27 January entitled 'What's in a Variant?'

Professor Richard Buxton hosted an extremely successful half-day international conference on 27 January. The conference was entitled 'What’s in a Variant?' and focussed on the utility of investigating myths by comparing their 'variants'.

The speakers were Dr Emma Aston of the University of Reading, Professor Alberto Bernabé from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Professor Daniel Ogden from the University of Exeter, and Professor Ken Dowden from the University of Birmingham. Myths analysed ranged from Thetis' near-immortalisation of Achilles, to Laocoon, to the exploits of Dionysus.

After the colloquium proper (held before an audience of 100+, ranging from distinguished academics from all over the UK and abroad, to school students and members of the local community), fans of The Bill were regaled with a reading by Sam Callis (a.k.a. Sgt Stone) of The Two Brothers, Richard Buxton's translation of Spanish author Mercedes Aguirre’s wonderful short story Cosas de hermanos, a prime example of a modern ‘variant’ of an ancient myth – the tale of Thyestes and Atreus, a saga of revenge and cannibalism transposed by Aguirre to modern-day Bilbao and New York. Sam Callis's reading was spell-bindingly brilliant, and will live long in the memories of all lucky enough to have heard it.

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