Monday, November 21, 2011

Renaissance Reincarnations

University of York, Saturday 17 March 2012

William Shakespeare – a lonely nobody furiously writing away in his garret, or an actor with a penchant for kingly parts? Elizabeth I – a jolly monarch with a partiality for sweets and a fondness for comedies involving dogs, or a cunning strategist thwarting the plans of her dangerous rivals? Philip Henslowe – enterprising money-lender or creative producer?

In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, we remain fascinated with Renaissance lives. This fascination has given rise to some of the most popular and admired works of fiction and liveliest critical debates of our time. While past studies have discussed Renaissance afterlives in isolation, this conference builds on recent interest in studying the modern representation of the Renaissance period from an interdisciplinary perspective. The aims of the conference are twofold – to map patterns and connections between the afterlives of Renaissance figures from different walks of life by bringing together academics from various disciplines; and to understand the ways in which the cultural stories of Renaissance figures shape our editorial, interpretive, and creative practice.

We invite proposals for individual papers (max. 20 minutes) on the theme of twentieth and twenty-first century representations and reincarnations of early modern historical persons who lived between 1500 and 1700 – from monarchs to musicians, poets to politicians. Possible topics may relate to (but are certainly not limited to) the following areas:

• Early modern men and women in popular fiction, e.g. Rupert of the Rhine’s reinvention in the romance novel, or Leonardo Da Vinci as discussed in The Da Vinci Code;
• Renaissance lives in biographies, histories, and scholarly debate, such as Germaine Greer’s Shakespeare's Wife;
• Stage versions of early modern lives, e.g. the award-winning A Man for all Seasons and The School of Night;
• Screen representations of early modern personalities, for instance Elizabeth’s childhood in The Tudors or Vermeer in Girl with a Pearl Earring;
• Musical and nursery rhyme recollections of historical persons, such as singing John Smith in Walt Disney’s Pocahontas, or the real ‘Georgie Porgie’.

Keynote speakers: Professor Martin Butler (University of Leeds) and Professor William Sheils (University of York).

Proposals (max. 300 words) are welcome from both established scholars and postgraduates, and should be sent by Friday 20th January to the conference organisers Dr Varsha Panjwani and Dr Chloe Preedy at We very much look forward to receiving your proposal.


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