Noted Classics Scholar to Lecture on ‘Lost’ Seventeenth-Century Poem

Dr. Stephan Heilen to Speak Sept. 21 at Free Ohio Wesleyan University Event

Stephan Heilen

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University’s programs in Classics, Humanities, and Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies will host an upcoming lecture by Dr. Stephan Heilen, Professor für Klassische Philologie mit Schwerpunkt Latein/Neulatein at the Universitaet Osnabrueck.

Heilen will speak at 4:15 p.m. Sept. 21 in Room 005 in Sturges Hall, 85 S. Sandusky St. He will lecture on the 1655 Latin poem “Musica incantans” of the Oxford student and Anglican cleric Robert South (1634-1716).

“Musica incantans” is the longest of South’s poems of youth, 358 dactylic hexameter verses that tell a dramatic story of a young man who is driven insane by a musician and commits suicide. The musician is tried for murder but acquitted after a successful self-defense. The Latin poem was reprinted five times between 1655 and 1774, and translated into both English and German.

Heilen will offer an introduction to this almost forgotten work of 17th century Latin verse, providing commentary on the classical sources that inspired South’s narrative, and arguing that the poem is an ironic reaction to the Puritan hostility to music as a source of entertainment in 17th century England.

Heilen is the author of the critical edition of Lorenzo Bonincontri’s De rebus naturalibus et divinis (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1999), and the concordance to the works of Bonincontri (Hildesheim: Olms, 2000), and he is the editor of In pursuit of Wissenschaft: Festschrift für William M. Calder III zum 75. Geburtstag (Hildesheim: Olms, 2008). He also has composed numerous scholarly papers, among them “Lorenzo Bonincontri’s Reception of Manilius’ Chapter on Comets (Astr. 1.809-926),” in Forgotten Stars: Rediscovering Manilius’ Astronomica (eds. Stephen Green and Katharina Volk, Oxford, 2011).

For more information about Heilen’s presentation, contact Ohio Wesleyan faculty members Lee Fratantuono at lmfratan@owu.edu or Caroline Stark at cgstark@owu.edu.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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