Rethinking Word and Image: History/Literary History/Art History (colloquium)

For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a year-long colloquium from 2004–2005.

No discipline is an island entire of itself. In the study of early modern culture, historians, art historians, and literary critics cover interlocking sites but often with too little consciousness of each other. Among the territories necessarily claimed by all the disciplines is the relationship between word and image. Questions of the visual and the verbal loom significantly, whether the subject is rhetoric and figura, playtexts and theatrical performance, the classical tradition and its recovery, or perspective, portraiture, iconoclasm, or even the natures of political power, of law, and of language. In each case, scholarly investigations require skills and knowledge that cross traditional disciplines. This colloquium, intended for literary, historical, and art historical specialists in conversation with each other, placed these concerns at the center of its attention. Meeting monthly throughout the academic year, participants contributed their own work in progress as bases for group explorations of emergent and hitherto unforeseen connections between reading and seeing, painting and writing, or drawing and printing in writing from any discipline invested in the analysis of art, namely the literature, culture, and politics of the early modern world.

Directors: Leonard Barkan is Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. He is the author of the Unearthing the Past: Archeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture (1999) among other works.

Nigel Smith is Professor of English at Princeton University. He is the author of Literature and Revolution in England, 1640–1660 (1994) and editor of the Longman edition of Marvell’s Poems (2003), among other works.