Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Concepts of Democracy, 1500-1800

Colloquium, Friday 4 May 2012
Hosted by the Early Modern Research Centre and the Legacy of Greek Political Thought network, University of Reading.

This colloquium will consider early modern perspectives on 'democracy' and 'popularity' from across the political spectrum, as well as opening up questions about the relationship of early modern political practices to these often pejorative concepts. Some papers will focus in on the usage of the terminology and its classical associations, while others will be more concerned with questions of actual or proposed political practice, and its relationship to assumptions about democracy or popularity. We hope to interrogate overly neat alignments of republicans and radicals with 'democracy' as a concept or a practice, and take seriously the content and connotations of 'democracy' even when it is used as a negative term.

Speakers include Mark Knights, Phil Withington, Cesare Cuttica, Joanna Innes and Mark Philp.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Fee: £15 (£10 students and unwaged)

Booking: contact Nina Aitken,

For further information, including a programme and booking form, please visit the Reading EMRC website:

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Early Modern Lucretius - Oxford

A CEMS conference, 16-17 May 2012

Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began vividly narrates the rediscovery of Lucretius’ great philosophical epic, the De rerum natura. Professor Greenblatt will open an interdisciplinary conference to be held by the Centre for Early Modern Studies, University of Oxford, on ‘The Early Modern Lucretius’ (May 16-17 2012). Specialists in classical, English and European literature, history and philosophy will explore the contradictory reception of this fascinating and challenging poem. The conference will examine in detail how particular passages were interpreted by a range of readers from natural philosophers to women intellectuals, from Machiavelli to Montaigne and Hobbes. There will be a special session in which manuscript and print editions of Lucretius from the Bodleian Library will be presented by David Butterfield, who is preparing a new edition of the poem. Other participants will include Sharon Achinstein, Alison Brown, David Butterfield, Line Cottegnies, Nicholas Davidson, Philip Hardie, Nick Hardy, Stephen Harrison, Ian Maclean, David Norbrook, Richard Scholar, Rhodri Lewis, Will Poole, Wes Williams, and Catherine Wilson.

The conference will take place on Wednesday 16 May and the morning of Thursday 17 May 2012. It will open with a lecture by Stephen Greenblatt on ‘Lucretius and Aesthetic Toleration’. The closing session on the Wednesday will be a Bodleian masterclass by David Butterfield. There will be panels on religion and atheism, poetry and philosophy, politics and the state, and readers and paratexts. Participants will include Alison Brown, author of The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence, Philip Hardie, author of Lucretian Receptions, David Norbrook, co-editor of a new edition of Lucy Hutchinson's translation, and Catherine Wilson, author of Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity, Sharon Achinstein, Line Cottegnies, Nicholas Davidson, Nick Hardy, Stephen Harrison, Ian Maclean, Richard Scholar, Rhodri Lewis, William Poole, and Wes Williams. Further details will be provided when available.

Details here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Religious Lives: Catholic Culture in the Early Modern World

Friday 18–Saturday 19 May 2012

St Edmund Hall and Queen’s College Chapel, Oxford

Written, spoken, painted, or performed, the life stories of Catholic men and women – particularly members of religious orders – dominated the culture of early modern Catholicism. This conference will address the growing body of scholarship devoted to understanding biographies and auto-biographies as they appeared in various forms within religious communities and Catholic society at large. These include institutional chronicles, canonization documents, festive decorations, images and pictorial cycles, and musical pieces, in addition to auto/biographical texts and spiritual testimonies – to name only a few. Many such narratives remained amongst a small audience, whilst others crossed national boundaries and were introduced in new, altered or translated forms. The conference will explore how life narratives were presented, interpreted and used to express confessional viewpoints and the corporate identities of religious orders. We seek to bring scholars from the disciplines of literature, history, theology, art history and music into conversation about the forms and functions of religious life stories in Asian, African, European and new world contexts.

The conference will include a period performance of Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier’s biographical oratorio ‘S. Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi’ by Oxford Baroque. The oratorio premiered at the Palazzo Pamphili, Rome in 1687. This piece will be placed in its historical context, opening discussion on the modes and purposes of articulating Catholic lives.

For further details of the conference and oratorio, and to reserve a place, please visit our website:

Call for papers:

We would particularly like to encourage papers from graduates in the areas of art history and music and/or focusing on Asia or the new world. Papers addressing British, Irish or Continental subjects or from the disciplines of history, literature, and theology are also most welcome. Please email proposals of no more than 300 words to by 10 April 2012. A number of graduate bursaries are available to fund graduate speakers thanks to the generosity of the Society for Renaissance Studies.

- What, if anything, was distinctive to the genres of biography and auto-biography in the post-Reformation period?

- How hagiographical were representations of religious lives?

-How collaborative was the process of constructing a life

-To what extent were auto/biographical lives imitative of lives in the same media or other media?

- In what ways were accounts of lives put to polemical uses?

- How were the identities of religious orders and their members expressed in or influenced by accounts of exemplary lives?

- How were life stories transmitted across national lines and how were they read/consumed/witnessed within different contexts?

With the generous support of the Society for Renaissance Studies:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rare performance for Elizabethan play by University of Kent students

University of Kent students will give a rare performance of an Elizabethan play from Wednesday 21 to Friday 23 March at 7.30pm.

Endymion is a comedy by John Lyly, the best-selling playwright of Shakespeare’s time and one of England’s first novelists. The play will be performed by Kent students in the Missing Link Building on the Canterbury campus. Audiences will see an innovative production where a boy falls in love with the moon, whilst the terrible witch Dipsas and the dodgy soldier Sir Tophas cause havoc in the background.

Dr Andy Kesson, Lecturer in Early Modern Studies at the University, commented: ‘Born in Canterbury, Lyly’s writing helped to define the English novel and play but, since then, he has been almost totally forgotten. In the School of English, we are trying to promote his extraordinary writing and have introduced two of his plays to our students’ modules this year.

‘As a result of their reading of the play, our students have been inspired to stage Endymion, one of the first performances of the play since 1588 which is bound to have a special kind of impact.’

Directed by Frederic Waller, Endymion is rated 16+ as it contains some adult material. Tickets are available, priced £5 or £4 for T24:Drama Society members, on the door at the Missing Link.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Romance: Places, Times, Modes

School of English, University College Cork
Cork, Ireland
21-22 September 2012

Romance has been one of the most resilient and protean of literary kinds, existing in its own right, moulding itself in other genres, and transforming itself in the long history of its aesthetic and cultural traffic from antiquity to early modern times, and between different cultures. Royal and popular, romance has absorbed, often at once, a plethora of discourses concerned with politics and privacy at crucial moments in European history and in its contacts with the worlds beyond Europe. This conference offers the chance to reassess the nature and importance of romance within the larger frame of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, comparative, and theoretical studies. The identification of new romances, the exploration of romance in contact with other genres and modes, and cultures other than English, and the larger reflections romance facilitate in the process of absorption and reconfiguration of places and times in which it is produced—all these are topics of considerable interest and value. At a further level, such imperatives have much to suggest about the processes by which the romance itself has undergone transformation and has transformed our understanding of its place in literary history, and beyond borders and countries. Contributions to this discussion are invited, covering as wide a range in terms of period, concept and approach as critical imagination can devise, to explore the imaginative suppleness and dynamic of romance across places, times, and modes.

Topics may include but are not limited to

Ethics and politics

Movement in time and space

Travel, sea, and geography

Contacts with the East; Islam


Sources and analogues

Crossovers with other genres

Cross-national / cross-ethnic contacts

Print and manuscript

The material book

Theories of romance



Gender and Sexuality

Romance and the arts

Translations and adaptations

A 200-word abstract, including contact information, should be sent to Goran Stanivukovic ( and Sergi Mainer (, School of English, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, before 1 June 2012.

The World Turned Upside Down

The University of Sheffield is running a day conference on Christopher Hill's The World Turned Upside Down. Full details on

Catholic Aesthetics

4.30pm, Wed 21st March, Roberts Building 110, UCL

Peter Davidson (Aberdeen), Rubens's design for the 1635 'Arch of the Mint' and the Virgin of the Andes?
Lilla Grindlay (University College London), ‘“Some out of vanity will call her the Queene of heauen”: polemical representations of the Virgin Mary in early modern religious discourse’
All welcome. For maps and a useful route finder, see For more on the UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges, please see

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Forward message:

Dear all,

Apologies for the group email, but I wanted to get the word out about a 5-year Assistant Professor position in Renaissance Literature and Culture which we are currently advertising in the English Department at the University of Amsterdam. The closing date is March 30, 2012.

Full details, including the job description, can be found here:

It is important to highlight that all teaching in the English Department at Amsterdam is done entirely in English. Knowledge of Dutch is not required, but a willingness to pick some up along the way is desirable.

I'd be grateful if you could forward this email to anyone you think might be interested in the position.

Best wishes,


Christoph Lindner

Poetic Form

Registration is open for Renaissance Poetic Form: New Directions. This conference at Wolfson College, Oxford, 5-7 July 2012, will draw together leading international literary scholars to discuss the resurgent interest in literary form and aesthetics in early modern English studies. We are currently in an exciting period of literary criticism, as scholars review the formal, political, theoretical and historical approaches of the previous century and call for perspectives which unite formal and historical study. This conference will provide a major forum for reviewing current work and establishing new lines of enquiry in this emergent field. With a programme of speakers from different areas of English studies, including literary history, historicism, manuscript study, and prosodic theory, the conference will address urgent questions about how we can understand and analyse literary form in a historically-rooted way, and will encourage fresh discussion about the status of formal and aesthetic considerations in editing and literary criticism, as well as in the development of new, electronic resources for studying early modern texts. Further details are at or do contact the organisers Elizabeth Scott-Baumann and Ben Burton at

Early Modern Levant

Panel(s) for the Sixteenth Century Society Conference (Cincinnati, Ohio, October 25-28,

*British Experiences and Constructions of Ethnic and Religious
Difference in the Early Modern Levant, 1500-1800*

The early modern period saw the intensification of contacts with the
Islamic world as people from the West ventured to the East in search
of trade, diplomatic relations, educational travel and biblical
scholarship. This panel will look at British constructions and
experiences of ethnic and religious groups encountered in the Levant
and the traditions they built upon by exploring how this difference
was studied and made visible in travel accounts, scholarly texts, and
mercantile and diplomatic correspondence. In the Levant, Britons came
in contact with a great variety of communities of eastern Christians,
Jews, and Muslims. This encounter invited comparisons between Western
Christians, peoples and lands in classical and biblical texts, and
cultures encountered in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Papers are
invited especially on depictions of Armenians, Greeks, Copts, Jews, Shi'tes, Maronites, among others, and/or comparisons made between them.
*Please send abstracts (250 words for individual papers and a brief biographical statement to Eva Johanna Holmberg
( by 30 March 2012.*

About the SCSC ~
The Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (SCSC) promotes
scholarship on the early modern era, broadly defined (ca. 1450 - ca.
1660). Providing opportunities for intellectual exchange among
scholars of the period, the Society also actively encourages the
integration of younger colleagues into the academic community. The
geographical scope of the organization is as international as its
membership. The SCSC welcomes scholars from all disciplines in early
modern studies, including history, art history, religion, history of
science, musicology, and literary and cultural studies in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The Society holds one annual meeting in a different city each year, usually during the month of October, with an average of more than 700 participants.

Dr Eva Johanna Holmberg
Postdoctoral researcher of the Academy of Finland, 2010-2012 Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki Visiting Fellow 2010-2011 Department of History, Queen Mary, University of London

Monday, March 12, 2012


Saturday 17 March 2012

Venue: In the Birmingham and Midland Institute [**PLEASE NOTE**] on Saturday 17 March 2012. There will be two sessions, from 11.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm


(am) Matt Jordan (independent scholar), ‘Milton’s Apology: Credit and the Origins of Self-Esteem’; Thomas N. Corns (Bangor), ‘John Toland’s Milton’.

(pm) Colin Timms (Birmingham), ‘Comus at Exton in 1745/48’; Rachel Willie (Bangor), ‘Inscribing Textuality: Milton, Anti-theatricalism, and the Performance of Print’.

The Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) was founded by Act of Parliament in 1854, for ‘the Diffusion and Advancement of Science, Literature and Art amongst all Classes of Persons resident in Birmingham and the Midland Counties,’ and continues to pursue these aims. The BMI is located in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre, just a few minutes’ walk from Birmingham New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street railway stations:

Birmingham and Midland Institute
Margaret Street
Birmingham B3 3BS

Please follow this link for a map of the BMI’s location, and for further information about the BMI and its Library:

For further information about the British Milton Seminar, please contact either: Professor Thomas N. Corns (, or Dr Hugh Adlington (

Monday, March 05, 2012

'Beyond Macbeth: Shakespeare in Scottish Collections'

... is an exhibition at the National Library of Scotland which tells the stories behind Edinburgh's two world-class collections of Shakespearean and other early printed drama.

The exhibition explores the lives of the writers, readers, critics and patrons who helped bring together these collections of Shakespeare's plays and works about him. Prominent among these are figures as various as William Drummond, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, James Halliwell-Phillipps and John Dover Wilson. In exploring their lives as readers, writers and collectors, the exhibition sheds light on some of the ways in which Shakespeare has been published, adapted, invoked and exchanged over four centuries.

The lives and activities of these collectors also reveal something of the range of Scottish responses to Shakespeare over the centuries, and the exhibition asks what his work means in and to Scotland today.

'Beyond Macbeth' runs to 29 April.

For more information, see

British Graduate Conference

We invite graduate students with interests in both Shakespeare and
Renaissance studies to join us in June for the Fourteenth Annual
British Graduate Conference.

The interdisciplinary conference provides a friendly but stimulating
academic forum in which graduate students from all over the world can
present their research and meet together in an active centre of
Shakespeare research: Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-upon-
Avon. Undergraduate students in their final two years of study are also
invited to attend the conference as auditors.

The conference will feature talks by Peter Holland (Notre Dame), Tiffany
Stern (Oxford), Paul Menzer (Mary Baldwin), and Katherine Duncan-
Jones (Oxford). Delegates also have the opportunity to attend the Royal
Shakespeare Company’s production of Richard III, part of the World
Shakespeare Festival, at a group-booking price. Lunch will be provided
on each day, and we will be hosting a dance and a drinks reception for
the delegates.

We invite abstracts of approximately 200 words for papers twenty
minutes in length (3,000 words or less) on subjects relating to
Shakespeare and Renaissance studies. Delegates wishing to give papers
must register by Friday May 4, 2012. Due to the growing success of this
annual conference, we strongly encourage early registration to ensure a
place on the conference programme.
For more information on the conference and registration visit:
E-mail us at:


A Chair and a lectureship in Renaissance Studies within the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary are currently advertised.

Details here.
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