Maxim Rigaux is a postdoctoral visiting fellow at the University of Chicago, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. He specializes in the cultural and literary histories of the early modern Iberian world. His main interests include the interactions between Latin and the vernacular languages, the relationships between text and image, race and gender studies, and multilingualism.
“In September 2018, I defended my Ph.D. dissertation: Fictions of Lepanto. Visuality and Epic Poetry in Renaissance Iberia (1571-1587). In this project, funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), I explored the tension between writing history and fiction in a series of epic poems dealing with the battle of Lepanto composed in Latin, Spanish and Catalan. I analysed how seven authors from diverse geographical, social and linguistics backgrounds represent a recent military victory in an epic discourse and I argued that our understanding of fictionality in these epics should not be limited to the insertion of supernatural episodes. From October 2018 onwards, I work as a postdoctoral visiting fellow at the University of Chicago.
For my new project, Before the Royal Tomb. Juan Latino’s Lyric Poetry,I received fellowships by Fulbright and B.A.E.F. In this project, I offer a new reading approach to the poetry of Juan Latino (1517-94), a former black slave and marginal figure of Spain’s Renaissance, that takes into account the author’s role as a city poet. I explore the material context of his poetry and examine how he negotiated the tensions between city and court, the textual and the visual, and the secular and the profane within a ceremonial context.
The open vision of RELICS towards European literary identities helps me to tackle questions related to Spain’s imperial project in the early modern period, and especially to explore the role that the Latin language and tradition played in it. RELICS offers me an ideal platform to look at the cultural and literary challenges of the period from a broader perspective. While many of the writers I study differ from each other in many ways, Latin-as a shared cultural legacy that gives individuals certain grip to an ever changing world-is the one element that always connects them.”