Selected Papers from the XV Oxford University Byzantine Society International Graduate Conference
Edited By Maximilian Lau, Caterina Franchi and Morgan Di Rodi
Preface – Opening Remarks of the XV Conference
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Opening Remarks of the XV Conference
As President of the Oxford University Byzantine Society, I would like to open our 15th International Graduate Conference by welcoming you all to this University city with a few lines of the English poet, William Wordsworth:
And I have feltA presence that disturbs me with the joyOf elevated thoughts; a sense sublimeOf something far more deeply interfused,Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,And the round ocean, and the living air,And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,A motion and a spirit, that impelsAll thinking things, all objects of all thought,And rolls through all things.
This was a man who understood Landscapes of Power, our conference theme. Just as Wordsworth contemplated ruined Tintern abbey as he wrote that poem, so we also spend our energies poring over the ruins of a past age. Together with assessing the landscape that surrounds them and what words come down to us from the minds of long dead men and women, we try to piece together meaning from these relics. Our texts can be unfinished and corrupted, as well as obscure, our authors biased in ways we can barely know, our ruins decayed, our histories barely coherent – and yet from this wrecked landscape still emerges the powerful vision of ‘that something deeply interfused’.
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