2005–2006 Folger Institute Scholarly Programs

This article stub lists the programming of the Folger Institute for the 2005-2006 academic year. For more past programming, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

Early Modern Terrorism? The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 & its Aftermath

A Weekend Workshop
This workshop marks the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, one of the most dramatic assassination attempts in history. On 5 November 1605, Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators were foiled in their plan to detonate barrels of gunpowder at the opening of the English Parliament. Had they succeeded, the overwhelming majority of the political, judicial, religious, and administrative elites of England would simply have disappeared. The resulting power vacuum would have left England open to foreign invasion, re-conversion to Roman Catholicism, and a brutal struggle for the very survival of the nation as an independent entity. The workshop undertakes fresh examinations of the documentary record as well as the social, political, religious, and architectural landscapes of early modern London and Westminster. With invited speakers as catalysts to discussion, participants will explore such issues as the forms of protest in early modern England, the literary and political aftermath of the event, and the plot’s subsequent memorializations. The workshop will consider the historical resonances of the event from multiple perspectives, examining the identities and status of the conspirators, the motivations and consequences of violent interventions in public affairs, the question of early modern terrorism, the political subterfuge of official responses, and the role of print culture in memory. The group will also examine literary and dramatic responses to the conspiracy from the production of pamphlets to the performance of Macbeth and the sudden interest of playwrights, theater owners, and audiences in “staged” explosions. To preserve the interactive nature of the workshop, participation will be limited to fifty. Applicants should describe the ways their current research engages the issues and prepares them to participate actively throughout the sessions.
Organizer: Chris Kyle (Syracuse University).
Speakers: Ian Archer (Oxford), A.R. Braunmuller (UCLA), David Cressy (Ohio State), Frances Dolan (UC Davis), Paul E. J. Hammer (University of St. Andrews), Jonathan Gil Harris (George Washington University), Jason Peacey (History of Parliament Trust), Charles Tilly (Columbia), Jenny Wormald (Oxford)

Religion, Revolution, Republicanism, and John Locke

2005 Fall Semester Seminar
This seminar, sponsored by The Center for the History of British Political Thought, furthers the Center’s recent examinations of international networks of exchange and influence in political thought with a case study of some significant interactions, of both works and people, between Britain and the Netherlands, between the British Revolutions of 1642–60 and 1688–91, and beyond. John Locke composed, continued, or began several of his works while in exile in the Netherlands, was influenced by authors he met there, and continued correspondence with associates in the Netherlands after his return to England. Algernon Sidney, Gilbert Burnet, John Toland, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, and others spent time in the Netherlands. Hobbes’s thought influenced Spinoza, and Spinozist thought influenced some British thinkers. Both the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) and the Revolutions of 1688–91 caused extensive debate and propaganda. This seminar will examine these interactions, focusing especially strongly on the works and associates of John Locke and on the topics of religion and irreligion, toleration, resistance and revolution, and republicanism. All works will be read in English.
Director: John Marshall is Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of John Locke: Resistance, Religion, and Responsibility (1994) and John Locke, Toleration, and “Early Enlightenment” Culture (forthcoming). He is editing several of Locke's tolerationist writings for the Clarendon edition of the Works of John Locke.

Renaissance Paleography in England

2005 Fall Semester Skills Course
This skills course is designed to provide an introduction to English handwriting of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and to introduce participants to a wide range of documents of historical and literary interest from the manuscript collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library. These may include correspondence, literary works, accounts, inventories, wills, and deeds. Applicants are encouraged to describe the manuscript resources they are consulting in their own research as participants will have an opportunity to discuss with the class the textual problems they are encountering in their work with Renaissance English manuscripts. Enrollment is limited to eight participants.
Director: Heather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She has edited Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland: Life and Letters (2001), The Pen’s Excellencie: Treasures from the Manuscript Collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library (2002), and with Alan Stewart, Letterwriting in Renaissance England (2004), and has written several articles on manuscripts in early modern England.

Harmony’s Entrancing Power: Music in Early Modern England

2005 Fall Faculty Weekend Seminar
This weekend seminar will gather twelve to sixteen faculty participants for collaborative investigations into the place of music in the larger world of the politics, religion, and culture of England and the other nations of the “Atlantic Isles” during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The seminar departs from the traditional histories of music that take as their subjects the lives and works of major composers. Instead, and drawing where possible on the Folger collections, participants will explore the social and cultural contexts for music with such topics as music’s role in promulgating religious and political ideology; the commerce of music (audiences, means of transmission); systems of patronage; education and training; the role of music in drama and entertainment of all kinds; views about music’s affective powers; and the intersection of popular and elite culture. Topics that explore connections between England and the Continent or the New World are also welcome. A set of common readings that reflect current scholarship about music will focus discussion. A technical background in music is not required.
Director: Jessie Ann Owens is the Louis, Frances, and Jeffrey Sachar Professor of Music at Brandeis University. She is the author of Composers at Work: The Craft of Musical Composition 1450-1600 (1997), and series editor of British Music Theory 1500–1700. Her current research explores “key” in early modern England.

Researching the Archive

2005-2006 Year-long Dissertation Seminar
This seminar, designed for doctoral candidates in History and English at work on their dissertations, focuses on the wealth of manuscript and printed material available for the study of early modern Britain. While the seminar will primarily address research issues relevant to the projects of its participants, it will also consider methodological and theoretical issues raised by the kinds of work that are being done and the varieties of archival material under investigation. Applicants should consult with their dissertation directors before applying to ensure that their work is at a stage that would benefit from the seminar, and admission will depend in part on the dissertation director’s certification of that fact. Preference will be given to those making significant use of the Library’s collections as part of each monthly visit; for consortium affiliates, grants-in-aid are available to support two nights’ lodging for each seminar session.
Director: David Scott Kastan is Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. His books include Shakespeare After Theory (1999) and Shakespeare and the Book (2001). He is a General Editor for the Arden Shakespeare, for which he edited 1 Henry IV (2002). He is currently at work on a book called The Invention of English Literature.
Director: Linda Levy Peck is Columbian Professor of History at The George Washington University. Her books include Northampton (1982), Court Patronage and Corruption in Early Stuart England (1990) and the collection The Mental World of the Jacobean Court (1991). Her new book, Consuming Splendor: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England, will appear in fall 2005.

Further Transactions of the Book

2006 Spring Conference
In recent decades, localized studies of the histories of the book have proliferated and matured. Attention to the effects of the transmission of knowledge in different media has consequently influenced work in many scholarly fields. This weekend conference carries forward the examinations of the 2001 Folger conference “Transactions of the Book.” With sponsorship from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, it offers a close focus on the Continental book trades as well as on the impact of the printed book on transnational or international knowledge communities. As was its predecessor, this conference is an international gathering of social and intellectual historians, literary critics, bibliographers, and others. By extending the scope of investigation beyond the widely recognized impact of the printing press, the conference encompasses the work of influential experts and new perspectives alike to assess current trends in light of the evidence of carefully historicized local studies.
Organized by: Anthony Grafton (Princeton University) and Ann Blair (Harvard University), with Kathleen Lynch (Folger Institute).
Panelists include: Blaise Aguera y Arcas (Princeton), Warren Boutcher (Queen Mary University of London), Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra (University of Texas at Austin), Marija Dalbello (Rutgers), Elizabeth Eisenstein (University of Michigan, emerita), Mordechai Feingold (Cal Tech), Anne Goldgar (King’s College London), James Hankins (Harvard), George Hoffmann (University of Michigan), Adrian Johns (University of Chicago), Hilaire Kallendorf (Texas A&M), Joseph Loewenstein (Washington University), Ian Maclean (Oxford), Noel Malcolm (Oxford), Margaret Meserve (University of Notre Dame), Paul Needham (Princeton), Paul Nelles (Carleton University), Antonio Ricci (York College, CA), Joan-Pau Rubiés (London School of Economics), David Harris Sacks (Reed College), Peter Stallybrass (University of Pennsylvania), Bette Talvacchia (University of Connecticut), Germaine Warkentin (University of Toronto), and Abby Zanger (Tufts University)

The State and Literary Production in Early Modern Europe

2006 Spring Semester Seminar
This seminar undertakes a comparative study of the relationship between different polities (including nation states and other kinds of polity, be they secular or ecclesial, monarchical or republican, imperial or not) in early modern Europe and the kinds of literature produced within them between 1500 and 1700. How did the nature of different polities shape what was written? Does any vernacular literature have a special claim to make at a time when some vernaculars were gaining authority either in parts of Europe or in other parts of the world? What capacities were retained exclusively by Latin literature? Participants will examine the consequences of the migrations of both authors and texts from one part of the Continent to another, or to another continent, by force or design, in and through the wars of early modern Europe. Each week, a particular case study of a text and context will be studied from western European vernacular sources (e.g., Dutch political verse; German drama; French libertine literature; Italian religious polemic; Portuguese colonial epic). A dynamic range of interests is sought in the research fields of applicants, and the syllabus will be shaped, in part, to reflect those interests. English translations of any non-English text on the syllabus will be supplied.
Director: Nigel Smith is Professor of English and Chair of the Renaissance Studies Committee at Princeton University. He is the author of Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660 (1994) and editor of the Longman Annotated Poets edition of Marvell’s Poems (2003), among other works.

Accessorizing the Renaissance

2006 Spring Semester Seminar
The objects of this seminar’s investigations are the small objects, ornaments, and accessories of early modern personhood: watches, seals, spectacles, snuffboxes, smelling boxes, gloves, passports, purses, handkerchiefs, fans, feathers, miniatures, and the like. The seminar will especially aim to situate within this miscellany such special apparatuses as writing tablets, letters, and small-format books. We will examine the symbolic freight of these objects and their contribution to the material history of inwardness. Participants will consider examples from the collections of the Folger Library and other Washington-area museums; their own research projects will recover other objects for case study. We will attend to the work of archaeologists, art and costume historians, and of such literary scholars as seek to understand the personal effects of these personal effects.
Director: Joseph Loewenstein, Professor of English at Washington University, is the author of The Author’s Due: Printing and the Prehistory of Copyright (2002), Jonson and Possessive Authorship (2002), and Responsive Readings (1984). He is a contributing editor of the New Cambridge Ben Jonson and a general editor of the forthcoming Oxford Collected Works of Edmund Spenser.

Europe and the Americas: Human and Natural Worlds in the Eyes of Sixteenth-Century Observers

2006 Spring Faculty Weekend Seminar
In the fourth century CE, Jerome observed to a friend that Jerusalem was no closer to heaven than the distant and alien lands of Britain. Some twelve centuries later, the Jesuit José de Acosta (c. 1540–1600) refurbished this thought and applied it to the distance between the Americas and Europe. Notwithstanding the long ocean voyage, and despite the epistemological and cultural distances and disjunctures that separated the two continents, the world was still one. Acosta’s own life is an example and metaphor of this observation. Trained as a Jesuit in Spain, he lived creative and productive years in Peru and saw Mexico before returning to Europe where his diplomatic skills were in high demand. While in Peru, Acosta immersed himself in the culture, history and language of Andean people and wrote two influential books about the Americas: Natural and Moral History of the Indies and a missionary manual titled How to Care for the Well Being of the Indians. In his later years, he addressed the religious needs of Spaniards in a long cycle of sermons about the Christian liturgical year and also wrote two treatises about the meaning and end of history. Acosta’s ability to move between the European and American cultural universes is the leitmotiv for this seminar. Incorporating additional cases from the research and teaching of its faculty participants, the seminar will engage in two days of discussion about the principles of unity and diversity of the human and natural world as perceived by sixteenth-century observers. Cosmology, religion, and language, along with statecraft, history, and economics will provide the framework for discussion and new research trajectories.
Director: Sabine MacCormack is the Theodore Hesburgh C.S.C. Professor of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru (1991), The Shadows of Poetry: Vergil in the Mind of Augustine (1998), and of the forthcoming On the Wings of Time: Rome, the Incas, Spain, and Peru.

Remembering Theater

2006 Spring Weekend Seminar
What is the impact of the emerging “antidiscipline” of performance studies on our understanding of Shakespearean drama? In what ways might some of the critical terms and practices—surrogation, restoration of behavior, performance ethnography, performative research—of performance studies help us to think through the vexed place of Shakespeare/performance studies today? With the rise of film, television, video, and digital technologies, neither “Shakespeare” nor “drama” are any longer confined to the tension between page and stage. The seminar will draw on participants’ own research interests (and allow some time in the library) to investigate how the technologies of contemporary performance, including the technologies of contemporary theater, define “Shakespeare” by defining the condition of dramatic performance. Are there distinctive epistemological modalities to contemporary live theater, and how do they relate to the epistemological structures of “performance,” let alone to film or video or digital performance? Must we understand theatrical production as inevitably residual in Raymond Williams’s sense? Or does theater continue to speak back to other technologies of performance, even those that seem to have displaced the stage? Does the antitheatrical tendency of American “performance studies” also sustain the desire to theorize performance as performativity—is this a way to move away from the tawdriness of theater? Theater is only imaginable as an art of memory; is theater now only an art of memory?
Director: W. B. Worthen is Professor of Theater in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent works include Print and the Poetics of Modern Drama (forthcoming 2005), Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance (2003), and Shakespeare and the Authority of Performance (1997).
Director: Barbara Hodgdon is Adjunct Professor in the Department of English at the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Shakespeare Trade: Performances and Appropriations (1998), among other titles, and editor of the Arden 3 Taming of the Shrew. With W. B. Worthen, she is co-editor of the Blackwell Companion to Shakespeare and Performance.

Plotting, Probability, and Evidence in English Renaissance Drama

2006 Late-Spring Seminar
Although plot has an elevated position in the history of poetics—Aristotle called it the soul of tragedy—it is frequently overlooked or treated as crudely basic: “no matter for the pen, the plot shall carry it,” says a hack in Jonson’s The Case is Altered (c.1590). Yet in 1668, Dryden praised “quick turns and counterturns of Plot” as characteristic of English dramatic writing as opposed to the French who preferred a simple plot “like an ill Riddle … found out e’re it be half-proposed.” Where did this English preference for copiousness in plot come from? Why is its contamination of tragedy with intrigue a distinctive feature in the development of English Renaissance drama? This seminar will explore that question by way of a focus on the quasi-legal or juridical aspect of plot structure, starting from the ground which classical poetics shares with the probable rhetoric of the law courts. It will examine the emplotment or narrative logic of specific Renaissance plays (selected in response to participants’ research interests) in relation to the humanist pedagogy of narrative, tracing the implications of the relationship between classical poetics and judicial rhetoric—looking at Cicero’s murder trial speeches, for instance, as humanist pedagogical examples of narrative emplotment. Finally, it will seek to contextualize this exploration of the juridical epistemology of plot by examining developments in the English legal culture of participatory jury trial and evidence-evaluation with which Renaissance dramatists were so familiar.
Director: Lorna Hutson is Berry Professor of English Literature at the University of St. Andrews. She is the author of The Usurer’s Daughter (1994) and co-editor with Victoria Kahn of Rhetoric and Law in Early Modern Europe (2001). She is currently working on The Invention of Suspicion: Forensic Realism in Renaissance Drama.