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W&L Hosts Public Lecture with U.Va. Professor Anthony Corbeill The title of his talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Grammatical Gender and Roman Conceptions of Poetry, Gods, and the More-Than-Human.”

Washington and Lee University will host Anthony Corbeill, the Basil L. Gildersleeve Professor of Classics at the University of Virginia, on March 12 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.

The title of his talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Grammatical Gender and Roman Conceptions of Poetry, Gods, and the More-Than-Human.”

From the moment a child in ancient Rome began to speak Latin, the surrounding world became populated with objects possessing grammatical gender—masculine eyes (oculi), feminine trees (arbores) and neuter bodies (corpora). Corbeill’s lecture surveys the many ways in which grammatical gender enabled Latin speakers to organize aspects of their society into sexual categories, and how this identification of grammatical gender with biological sex affected Roman perceptions of Latin poetry, divine power and the human hermaphrodite.

Corbeill’s research focuses in particular on Roman sexuality, education and rhetoric. He is the author of “Controlling Laughter: Political Humor in the Late Roman Republic,” “Nature Embodied: Gesture in Ancient Rome,” and “Sexing the World: Grammatical Gender and Biological Sex in Ancient Rome,” which received a 2016 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit from the Society for Classical Studies. He is currently co-authoring a commentary on Cicero’s “De Haruspicum Responsis.”

Corbeill has been a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome (1994-95), after which he served as editor of “Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome” and as a trustee (2014-16). He has also held visiting appointments or fellowships at Vassar College, the universities of Wisconsin and Michigan, All Souls and Corpus Christi colleges (Oxford), and the Institute of Classical Studies (London).