1997–1998 Folger Institute Scholarly Programs

This article stub lists the programming of the Folger Institute for the 1997–1998 academic year. For more past programming, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

The Putney Debates, 1647

A Fall 1997 Conference
From 28 October through 1 November 1647, Oliver Cromwell, his son-in-law Henry Ireton, and other officers of the New Model army met with activists among the troops to discuss An Agreement of the People, a Leveller plan for a radically different English government than had ever been known: one without a king and house of lords, and with a parliament elected on the basis of universal manhood suffrage, or something close to it. This international conference, sponsored by the Center for the History of British Political Thought, celebrates the 350th anniversary of these debates. Papers will address the political, cultural, religious, and military setting of the debates, the debates themselves, and the legacy of the debates and of Leveller activism for the Restoration, for collateral issues such as political participation by women, and for later historiography.
Speakers: Michael Mendle, Conference Organizer (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), Gerald Aylmer (St. Peter's College, Oxford), Patricia Crawford (University of Western Australia), Barbara Donagan (Huntington Library), Tim Harris (Brown University), William Lamont (University of Sussex), Lesley Le Claire (Worcester College, Oxford), John Morrill (Selwyn College, Cambridge), J.G.A. Pocock (Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University), Gordon J. Schochet (Rutgers University), Lois G. Schwoerer (emeritus, George Washington University), Barbara Taft (Washington, D.C.), Austin Woolrych (Emeritus, University of Lancaster), Blair Worden (University of Sussex)

The Creation and Use of Electronic Texts and Images

A Fall Faculty Weekend Seminar, 14–15 November 1997
This seminar is cosponsored by the National Digital Library at the Library of Congress. It will gather college faculty who are conducting or contemplating an electronic project for research or classroom use. Projects may include but are not limited to an electronic edition, the assembly of an archival group of materials, or a teaching exercise. Over the course of an intensive weekend, the seminar will address the overarching theoretical, pedagogical, and technological frameworks in which the variety of its participants' projects are accommodated. Background reading will be assigned in advance of the weekend. Those selected to participate will be expected to submit position papers or samples of their projects in advance of the seminar. Some sessions will take place at the National Digital Library at the Library of Congress.
Director: David Seaman, Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia

Researching the Renaissance

A Fall 1997 Semester-Length Seminar
This seminar is designed specifically for doctoral candidates whose dissertation work would benefit either from recourse to the Folger Library collections or from ongoing discussion of the methodological and theoretical issues involved in the conduct of interdisciplinary scholarship—or, ideally, from both. Especially relevant will be dissertations in literature or history that deal with books printed in England between 1470 and 1700 or with manuscripts held by the Folger Shakespeare Library either in collection or on film (as, for instance, the State Papers Domestic or the manuscripts of the Marquis of Salisbury held at Hatfield House).
Director: Leeds Barroll, Professor of English at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County

Princely Magnificence and Munificence: Ritual, Precious Objects, and the Gift Cycle in the Early Modern Court

A Fall 1997 Semester-Length Seminar
This seminar will examine the role of precious materials and of their artificers in the cycles of ritual splendor and gift-giving which were characteristic of the early modern court. The central focus of the seminar will be on the late Tudor and Stuart Court in England, but with some stress on other courts with which the English court maintained regular relations. Until about 1640 the Spanish court vied with and usually overshadowed the French one as a center of English attention and diplomatic activity. Italian courts compensated for lack of military weight with rare and desirable gifts. James I had at one stage a resident ambassador at the Mughal court in India, Sir Thomas Roe. Attention will also be given to the gift cycle of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal dynasties. Individual sessions will examine the gift-cycle; court goldsmith-jewellers; regalia and symbols of majesty; the gift-cycle at the Tudor court; orders of chivalry and other diplomatic gifts; the mystic and symbolic significance of precious stones; and finally the impact of the overseas expansion of Europe on the availability of precious materials, not just in Europe, but globally.
Director: Bruce P. Lenman, Professor of Modern History at the University of St. Andrews

Constructing the Early Modern

A Fall 1997 Semester-Length Seminar
Texts, like physical bodies, corporations, court practices, and cultural concepts, had overlapping jurisdictions in early modern England. This seminar will examine the material traces of the jurisdictions in both print and manuscript cultures in order to interrogate current theoretical narratives about the period. For instance, the seminar will look in particular at the material practices and competing discourses of playing, authoring, marketing, governing, and self-representation. The seminar will consider the commodification of objects and of dress in the court and in the theatre as differing modes of cultural construction. Finally, the seminar will also examine the means by which this material culture is currently made legible. After close scrutiny of extant documents of the Elizabethan court and stage, participants will look at the contemporary performances in early London theatres of at least three plays—Bartholomew Fair, Eastward Ho, and Coriolanus—in an attempt to redefine the boundaries within which these plays and the culture that produced them are perceived. Visiting speakers will include Peter Stallybrass (University of Pennsylvania) and Margreta de Grazia (University of Pennsylvania).
Director: Marion Trousdale, Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park

The Early Modern Book

A Spring 1998 Semester-Length Seminar for Master's Students
This seminar is designed to introduce Master's students to useful skills, sources, and concepts for advanced work with the texts of the early modern period (ca. 1475–1700). The seminar will focus primarily on English literature, though the readings and discussions will bring other cultures and disciplines into play. Combining historical overviews and detailed case studies, the seminar will bring together bibliographical scholarship, literary theory, and editorial practice. It will aim to develop students' skills of deciphering, describing, and analyzing early modern texts. It will survey the conditions of textual transmission—from writing to reading—in the transitional centuries following the invention of printing. But it also will be concerned with the implications of these conditions for the ways that the texts of the past are read and written through critical studies and editions.
Director: William H. Sherman, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park

Shakespeare and Postmodernism

A Spring 1998 Semester-Length Seminar
How successfully can Shakespeare be read in a post-Enlightenment culture by methodologies that are still rooted in Enlightenment epistemology? Sponsored by the Center for Shakespeare Studies, this seminar will juxtapose theory, method, film, and cultural studies to see what Shakespeare's plays can bring to a post-humanist, and perhaps even post-literary landscape, and vice versa. The seminar will explore early modern anticipations of postmodern political cultures in the Henriad; it will consider recent mass-cultural film productions of the plays along with other popular uses and deployments of such texts as Othello, Hamlet, Henry V, and Romeo and Juliet. Special areas of focus will include: the historical and conceptual tenets of western "enlightenment" and their links to the manufacture of "The Bard" as figurehead; the ideological and technological links between early modern and postmodern subjectivities; and the limitations, as well as benefits, of historical notions of "periodicity" to Shakespeare studies in the future. The seminar will question the assumptions behind terms such as "modernity" and "postmodernity," and will work to formulate flexible and productively provisional definitions and applications of related terms such as "post-humanist," "post-liberal," and "posthistoricist" to the study of Shakespeare's texts.
Director: Linda Charnes, Associate Professor of English at Indiana University at Bloomington

Explorations of Space, Mapping, and Early Modern Literature

A Spring 1998 Semester-Length Seminar
Building upon the work of François Rabelais and Michel de Montaigne, this seminar will examine the multiple relations of the mapping of the world to early modern writing and will consider the works of humanists, cartographers, chroniclers, playwrights, novelists, and poets. How does literature dramatize the quandaries of individuals living in a world whose extension is unfolding at untold speed and proportion? To what degree do issues concerning space and its representation inflect literature? More radically, in what measure does the history of early modern literature and the arts become identical to cartography in its betrayals of subjective process? The seminar will examine some late-medieval and Renaissance architecture and painting, from the flamboyant style to Jean Fouquet. It will attend to the purview of the cosmographer and la poésie du ciel, including Scève and Ronsard. It will read literary works by cartographers such as Oronce Finé and Nicolas de Nicolai. It will trace the growth of the isolario from poetry to the novela ejemplare, the histoire tragique, and to the novel. It will examine the great encyclopaedic monsters, called the cosmographie universelle, that evolved from Sebastien Munsterto André Thevet and François de Belleforest. Finally, it will read the poetry of navigation and of speed in selected writings of Shakespeare and Donne.
Director: Tom Conley, Professor of French at Harvard University

Theory and Practice of Editing

A Spring 1998 Semester-Length Seminar
Editors of early modern texts find themselves today in a world that exhibits little certainty and multiple challenges. The "new bibliography" has come under increasing attack from proponents of social theories of editing as well as from postmodern doubters of the primacy of authorial intention and of the very existence of a "work" behind the "text." At the same time, the field of documents to be edited has expanded; electronic publication confronts the editor with the demand for a range of new skills; and the editor is increasingly pulled between the conflicting demands of, on the one hand, fidelity to the early modern document, and, on the other, making the edition of that document accessible to a modern reader. With the help of an expert visiting faculty, this seminar will examine the theory and the practice of editing early modern manuscript and printed materials, drawing on the Library's wealth of documentary resources.
Faculty: Jerome J. McGann, author of A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism (1983); W. Speed Hill, General Editor of the Folger Library edition of The Works of Richard Hooker (1977–1993); Elizabeth Hageman, The Brown University Women Writers Project; Paul Werstine, General Editor of A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare; and Randall McLeod, author of numerous essays in such journals as Studies in English Literature, Shakespeare Quarterly, and TEXT.
Director: Barbara A. Mowat, Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly and Director of Academic Programs at the Folger Library

Irish Political Thought in the Eighteenth Century

A Spring 1998 Semester-Length Seminar
Sponsored by the Center for the History of British Political Thought, this is the concluding seminar in a chronological series of three. This seminar will investigate the range of political ideologies or tendencies in the period between the Glorious Revolution and the Act of Union, including the Whigs and Tories of the first ages of party; the court ideology of the post-1715 period; various ideologies of opposition; and the new conservatism of the late eighteenth century. Three issues in particular will be carefully considered. First, the seminar will investigate the relationship between the works of Molyneux, Swift, Lucas, and Grattan and the wider body of contemporary political thought and writing. Second, the seminar will examine more broadly the interplay between themes and issues that were specific to Ireland and those that were Irish manifestations of a wider outlook or debate. For example, the seminar will look at the different meanings of "patriotism" in an Irish and in a British context and at the relationship between the late eighteenth-century Irish defense of "Protestant ascendancy" and contemporary British conservatism. Finally, the seminar will address the question of continuity and discontinuity. How much of the language of Whig and Tory survived after 1715 to inform political debate? And how far did the conservative and radical theorists of the 1790s fashion new arguments to meet new circumstances, as opposed to developing lines of thought whose roots extended back into the mid- or even early eighteenth century?
Speakers: Visiting lecturers will include R.R. Eccleshall (Queen's University of Belfast), David Hayton (Queen's University of Belfast), James Kelly (St. Patrick's College, Dublin), Patrick Kelly (Trinity College, Dublin), and Ian Montgomery (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland).
Director: S. J. Connolly, Professor of Irish History at Queen's University of Belfast