Monday, November 20, 2006



Plenary Speakers: Rivkah Zim, Jerome de Groot, Molly Murray and Penry Williams

A conference sponsored by the Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies
King’s Manor, University of York
23-24 July 2007

There has been a growing awareness—among scholars of both literature and history—of the close and complex relationship between writing and imprisonment in early modern Britain (from Thomas More to John Bunyan). A surprising number of authors experienced imprisonment of one sort or another, and prisons and prisoners figure prominently in the period’s textual record: prison played a decisive role in the careers of individual authors and in the development of particular genres. There have been some useful case studies of individual texts and authors, but we have barely begun to map the field and compare notes between the disciplines and across the centuries.

We invite proposals for papers of 20 to 30 minutes on any aspect of this broad and neglected subject, and we welcome your participation as we take stock of what is known and set an agenda for future scholarship. Among the questions we hope to explore are:

* Which genres of writing (or compiling, speaking, drawing, etc.) were associated with prison? What kinds of writing survive (diaries, letters both from and to prison, petitions, fictional representations)?
* What were the different kinds of prisons (actual and virtual; foreign and domestic; national and local; those for criminals, debtors, and prisoners of conscience) and did they generate different kinds of writing?
* How did early modern writers figure their experiences—as periods of deprivation and exile? as laborious journeys or painful pilgrimages? as opportunities for regeneration?
* How did early modern writers draw on earlier tropes, genres and paradigms, and what use (if any) do later writers make of the early modern tradition?
* What kinds of essay collections and editions of primary texts would best serve this subject?

Please send proposals to one or both of the conference organisers: William H. Sherman, Department of English (, William J. Sheils, Department of History (

For more information on the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies please see our website (


Blogger Justice said...

Thank your for your excellent blogsite. I teach writing in the UAA and would like to become involved in writing as therapy for inmates of prisons, in UK, if possible. Do you know who could put me on the right track?
Rob Fielding

11:07 AM  

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