Wednesday, July 28, 2010


13-15 JULY 2011

A Multi-Disciplinary Conference Hosted by the Centre for Early Modern Studies at the University of Sussex

Call for Papers

The Centre for Early Modern Studies at the University of Sussex is seeking proposals for individual papers or panels that address any aspect of this theme. Topics might include: the nature of the country house library; the intellectual networks associated with libraries and houses; the culture of book collecting and borrowing; libraries as regional centres; education in the country house; the book as a work of art; architecture of libraries; houses as intellectual projects; writing on houses; reading groups; the production of texts from country houses; country house culture across the British Isles; manuscript circulation; gardens as intellectual projects; royal progresses; material objects in country houses; hospitality; the impact of the civil war on country house culture.

Organizers: Matthew Dimmock, Margaret Healy

Plenary Speakers include: Maurice Howard, James Raven, William Sherman and Christopher Ridgeway

Please send abstracts of papers (of no more than 200 words) or panel theme and list of speakers with titles, institutional affiliation and abstracts to Simon Davies ( by 13 December 2010.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Call for Papers: “Perfect Harmony“ and “melting strains“.

Music in Early Modern Culture between Sensibility and Abstraction
at Humboldt-University Berlin, 1.-3. December 2011

In Early Modern culture, philosophers, musicians, theologians, and poets grappled with the ambivalent
nature of music. Music was perceived as a phenomenon occupying an ambiguous position between
mathematical abstraction and sensual experience. In the Pythagorean-Platonic tradition, music was
understood as euphonic mathematics replicating the perfection and beauty of a transcendent cosmic order.
At the same time, the emotive and physiological effects of actual musical experience proved it to be a
sensuous phenomenon of insistent immediacy and affective power.
The Classical concept of cosmic order and universal harmony based on the ratios and proportions of
musical intervals was still prominent in Early Modern thought. Mediated through Boethius, the idea
appeared in poetic texts as the trope of the music of the spheres; philosophical texts, such as the first edition
of Newton’s Principia mathematica (1687), often employed “musical” terminology.
The immediate physiological and psychological effects of music on the listener, meanwhile, were no
less important in the Early Modern discourse on music. Contemporaneous natural philosophical and literary
texts, as well as treatises on musical composition tried to come to terms with and gauge the affective power of
music. Texts concerned with the theory of composition – musica poetica – relied on classical rhetoric in their
endeavours to describe and prescribe the expressive and affective potential of musical figures.
The affective power of music, mediated through these figures, was important also in matters of
practical divinity, especially in the debate about church music and its liturgical function. St. Augustin, for
example, had already expressed his suspicions concerning the power of music over the body and criticism of
the use of music in devotional ritual. These controversial issues were of renewed interest in the Early Modern
situation of denominational strife and changed musical practices. The polyphony of choral works as well as
instrumental music no longer reliant on a textual basis stood side by side with the unisonous, jubilant singing
of the psalms of the Old Testament.
In all these contexts, the affective potential of music was marked as highly ambivalent, illustrating
the precarious human position in the cosmos – man’s bodily connection to the sensually material world and
the immaterially spiritual connection with higher reality and the Divine. On the one hand, music was
attributed an uplifting effect: music offered spiritual and intellectual edification or promised religious
ecstasy. On the other hand, music appeared as a sensual power speaking to man’s baser bodily nature,
dangerously undermining the desired rational control of the passions.
The conference “Perfect Harmony“ and “melting strains“ focuses on conceptualisations of music in Early
Modern scientific, philosophical, theological, and literary discourse. It investigates the explanatory potential
of these conceptualisations in the debate over natural philosophical questions in a time when ideas of
universal harmony were being challenged by concepts of atomic chance and chaos.

We will also explore the debates in the new sciences, the arts, and theology concerning the intellectual and affective potential of music and the ways in which ideas about music and its affective power were utilized in theological, medical, and poetological contexts for moral and didactic purposes. In addition, the conference will focus on the philosophical, literary, and musical textualisations and dramatisations of the ideas about music and its nature as an emotionally effective sensual and aesthetic experience. These issues acquire a specific poignancy in the Early Modern context, as it is an era during which ancient musicological texts were being rediscovered and new musical genres such as the opera were being invented with reference to Classical dramatic forms.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

‘Universal Reformation: Intellectual Networks in Central and Western Europe, 1560-1670’

St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, 21-23 September 2010.

Organised by Howard Hotson and Vladimír Urbánek, the event will showcase the work of a diverse group of emerging and established scholars, many from east central Europe, who will converge on the intellectual networks and traditions engendered by the upheavals of the Thirty Years War. For provisional programme information, a steadily growing list of speaker profiles and abstracts, and to book online, please see the new conference website:

The deadline for registration is Friday 10 September. The event is organised under the auspices of ‘Cultures of Knowledge: An Intellectual Geography of the Seventeenth-Century Republic of Letters’, a collaboration between the Bodleian Library and the Humanities Division of the University of Oxford with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. For further details, please visit

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

From Coronation to Chari-Vari: The Many Uses of Ritual and Ceremony in the Early Modern World

1-Day Colloquium at Birkbeck, University of London

Thursday 23 September, 6.30 pm:
Key note address by Prof. Jeroen Duindam (Groningen University), ‘Exhilaration and Ossification: Ritual and Ceremony in the Early Modern World’

Friday 24 September

09.00 Registration and refreshments

09.30 Panel 1: Early Modern France

Dr Glenn Richardson (St Mary’s University College, Twickenham),
‘ “Ritual Informality” at the Court of Francis I of France’
Dr Neil Murphy (University of Winchester), ‘Royal Grace, Royal Punishment: The French Royal Entry Ceremony and the Pardoning of Prisoners, c. 1350-1570’
Prof. Stuart Caroll, ‘Stone Crosses and Satisfaction’
11.30 Break

12.00 Panel 2: The Ottoman Empire

Dr Philip Mansell, ‘Ambassadors and Sultans 1530-1830’
Dr Claire Norton (St Mary’s University College, Twickenham), ‘Ceremony at the Sublime Porte: Ottoman Strategies for Asserting Power and Political Bargaining’

13.30 Lunch

14.30 Panel 3: Authority and Conflict

Denise Murray (University College Cork) ‘The Carrot and the Stick’ – The Battle for the Soul of the MacUilliam Lochter Lordship of Mayo 1585-1601’

Dr Francois Soyer (University of Southampton), ‘Catholicism Triumphant: Ritual and Ceremony in the Public Baptisms of Non-Christians in Early Modern Spain and Portugal’

16.00 Closing Remarks: Prof. Jeroen Duindam

16.30 Reception

Monday, July 05, 2010


A day colloquium at Sheffield Hallam University
Thursday 8 July 2010
Furnival 9221
(see )

10 Arrival and coffee
10.15–11.15 Lucy Munro, Keele, ‘Beyond Spenserianism: Archaism and Temporality in Seventeenth-Century Religious Verse’
11.15-11.30 Coffee
11.30-12.30 Alex Davis, St Andrews, ‘“Dobsons Drie Bobbes” (1607): Renaissance Historical Fiction and the Reformation’
12.30-1.30 Lunch
1.30-3 Dan Cadman, Sheffield Hallam University,‘“The race of th’old Ægyptian kings”: Rival mythologies and the Stuart dynasty in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene’; Richard Wood, Sheffield Hallam University, ‘“I am a man; that is to say, a creature whose reason is often darkened with error”: Sir Philip Sidney, Humility and Revising the Arcadia’
3-3.15 Tea
3.15-4.45 Annaliese Connolly, Sheffield Hallam University, ‘Re-considering George Peele’; Chris Butler, Sheffield Hallam University, ‘As I/You/They Like/d It, or: When is an Allegory not an Allegory?’

There is no conference fee but it would be much appreciated if anyone intending to come would let Lisa Hopkins ( know in advance.
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