2000–2001 Folger Institute Scholarly Programs
Rewriting the Elizabethan Stage
- A Fall 2000 Semester-Length Seminar
- How did theatre entrepreneurs, actors, playwrights, audiences, and patrons collaborate to create the theatrical culture of Elizabethan England? Building upon The Elizabethan Stage, E. K. Chambers' monument of scholarship, the seminar will reconsider the public playhouses, 1593–1603, as material, economic, professional, and sociopolitical entities. The seminar will explore a broad selection of issues, including theatrical construction, acting companies (their structure and management), aspects of performance, patronage, touring, theatrical politics, and the evolution of the playhouse as a capitalist enterprise. The seminar will attend to the scholarly process of writing theatre history, as well as to the narratives historians have produced in their attempts to define and configure the sociopolitical and professional culture of the Elizabethan stage. Drawing upon the resources of the Folger Library and the holdings of various English record offices, participants will work to fulfill several goals: to familiarize themselves with central issues currently facing theatre historians; to reevaluate some of the most seminal sources relating to the playhouse as a locus of economic and cultural exchange; and to examine some of the myriad methodologies through which the Elizabethan stage is being rewritten. Consequently, the readings and preparation for weekly meetings will address a combination of twentieth-century writings that revise aspects of Chambers' work along with early documentary materials. Additionally, Sally-Beth MacLean (University of Toronto) will introduce participants to the work of the REED Project.
- Director: S. P. Cerasano is Professor of English at Colgate University. She coedited Readings in Renaissance Women's Drama (1998), Renaissance Drama by Women: Texts and Documents (1996), and Gloriana's Face: Women, Public and Private, in the English Renaissance (1992) with Marion Wynne-Davies, and is the author of numerous articles on Elizabethan theatre history. She is currently writing a biography of the actor-entrepreneur Edward Alleyn.
Society and the Supernatural in Early Modern Europe
- A Fall 2000 Semester-Length Seminar
- If the intertwining of the sacred and profane was one of the distinguishing features of medieval culture, then one of most salient characteristics of the modern age would have to be its redefinition of the sacred, and, more specifically, of the relation between the natural and the supernatural. In fact, the rejection by Protestants of medieval Christian piety as "superstitious" and "magical" has long been interpreted as a powerful marker of cultural difference, that is, as one of the most certain boundaries between what is "modern" and what is not, between "enlightened" and "benighted" societies. This seminar will focus on attitudes toward the supernatural among both Protestants and Catholics in the period 1500–1700, with an eye toward examining the relation of these attitudes to the very premise of "modernity." Readings in primary texts, in English translation, will focus on the articulation of beliefs, pro and con, and on both divine and demonic supernatural phenomena in authors as diverse as St. Augustine of Hippo, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Pedro Ciruelo, Johann Weyer, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Maria de Agreda, Angelo Pastrovicchi, Nicolas Aubin, and David Hume. Topics will include miracles, visions, apparitions, mystical trances, levitation, bilocation, witchcraft, and demonic possession.
- Director: Carlos M. N. Eire is Professor of History and Chair of Religious Studies at Yale University. He is the author of From Madrid to Purgatory: The Art and Craft of Dying in Sixteenth-Century Spain (1995) and War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin (1986), and coauthor of Jews, Christians, Muslims: A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions (1996).
- A Fall 2000 Semester-Length Seminar
- The early modern period originated and then refined the kinds of familiar pictures that are still read from their subject matter as instances of categories, or genres: landscapes, still-lifes, and scenes of peasant life, to name only the most important. This seminar will revisit the messy and mutable history of pictorial genres by examining their origins and developments against the culture and society of the Low Countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It will pay particular attention to the role of innovation in the work of seminal artists like Pieter Bruegel and Johannes Vermeer and the role of imitation in the market context of art consumption. It will study the patterns and effects of wide distribution of generic paintings and engraved prints to a broad clientele. It will explore the hybrid nature of early pictorial genres, which frequently combine religious subjects with dominant rural landscapes or villages or blend sacred and secular figures in urban markets. The seminar will also engage comparative situations: from the development in the same period of literary genres (derived and coordinated with elaborate, classical theories of poetics) to the eighteenth-century novel and, especially, the twentieth-century film. Literary historians are encouraged to bring in their own case studies from the same period (especially such fruitful points of overlap as pastoral), as well as period understandings of dominant generic affects (especially comedy).
- Director: Larry Silver is the Farquhar Professor of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the coauthor, with Timothy Riggs, of Graven Images: The Rise of Professional Printmakers in Antwerp and Haarlem, 1540–1640 (1993), as well as the author of the introductory Art in History (1993), and Rembrandt (1992).
Defining the Court's Political Thought
- A Fall 2000 Semester-Length Seminar
- How should we conceive of the early modern English court as an intellectual environment? How should we define and delimit the concept of political thought within a court context? And how should we understand the relationship between political thought produced at court and political thought that takes the court-or some aspect of court life-as its central object? The seminar, sponsored by the Center for the History of British Political Thought, will explore these questions with reference to a range of specific topics, including the relation of honor to royal service and reward; the operation of court faction; the position of royal favorites; the problem of counsel; concepts of statecraft and the arcana imperii; ideas concerning royal prerogatives and the common law; and shifting understandings of the religious nature and obligations of kingship. In addition to secondary sources, readings will include policy memoranda, court sermons, and theoretical writings by authors such as Francis Bacon and James I. The seminar will also attend to the intellectual implications of poetry, theatrical entertainments, visual imagery, and ritual. Visiting faculty will include: Lawrence Bryant (California State University at Chico), Pauline Croft (Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London), Lori Anne Ferrell (Claremont Graduate University), and Linda Levy Peck (George Washington University).
- Director: R. Malcolm Smuts is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He is the author of Culture and Power in England (1999) and Court Culture and the Origins of a Royalist Tradition in Early Stuart England (1987), and editor of Stuart Court and Europe: Essays in Politics and Political Culture (1996). Professor Smuts is also President of the North American Society for Court Studies.
Renaissance Paleography in England: An Intermediate Skills Course
- A Fall 2000 Semester-Length Skills Course
- For those who have attended the Folger's introductory seminar on Renaissance paleography, for those who already have some experience transcribing English documents of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or those who want to brush up their working knowledge of the secretary and legal hands, this course will provide guidance and further practice. Participants will transcribe 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. Participants encountering textual problems in their own work with Renaissance English manuscripts will be encouraged to discuss them with the class.
- Director: Laetitia Yeandle is the Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She coedited with Richard Dunn The Journal of John Winthrop, 1630–1649 (1996) and edited the text of The Tractates for the Folger Library Edition of The Works of Richard Hooker (1990). With Jean Preston, she coauthored Handwriting in England: 1440–1650(1992), and with Giles E. Dawson, Elizabethan Handwriting, 1500–1650: A Manual (1966).
The Force of Memory in Late-Medieval and Renaissance Culture
- A Fall 2000 Faculty Weekend Seminar held on 13–14 October 2000
- Before the eighteenth century, memory was understood as encompassing both a rational, investigative power of recollection and a set of procedures for storing and filing material. This weekend seminar calls historians of literature, art, and ideas to an investigation of the continuities and divergences of the memorial culture of the high Middle Ages and of the Italian Renaissance. Advance reading, in English translation, will frame the discussion. Works may include those on the techne of memoria by Hugh of Saint-Victor (d. 1135), the ars memorativa of one of the earliest northern humanists, Jacobus Publicius (flourished ca. 1460), and picture-books of diagrams designed to help preachers and pious readers alike. The seminar will situate these practical medieval arts in relation to the memorial arts of Italian humanists, including the many writers and artists associated with the Cinquecento Italian humanist academies, culminating in the philosophical/memory Teatro of Giulio Camillo. Participants' own research projects will determine the specific organization of two days of intensive sessions. Particularly welcome are projects that address the variety of intellectual communities served-including the Augustinian canons of Saint-Victor (the precursors of the University of Paris), the early medieval universities, preachers, teachers, poets, painters, and scientists-or that develop the protean theme of memoria as an invention-engine, emphasizing memoria as a technique, indeed a techne with close ties to painting, architecture, and poetry. A reading knowledge of Italian and basic Latin would be helpful, but is not required.
- Director: Lina Bolzoni is the Dean of "Classe di Lettre e Filosofia" of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. She is the editor of Morgana, a collection of studies and new editions of Renaissance texts, and the author of La stanza della memoria: modelli letterari e iconografici nell'eta della stampa (1995). She has edited numerous texts and compilations, including Camillo's L'Idea del theatro (1991); Cultura della memoria (1992); and Memoria e memorie: convegno internazionale di studi, Roma, 18–19 maggio 1995 (1998).
- Director: Mary Carruthers is Professor and Chair of English and Director of the Center for Research in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance at New York University. She is the author of Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric and the Making of Images, 400–1200 (1998) and The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture (1990), as well as many articles on Middle English and medieval Latin literature and the history of medieval rhetoric.
Puzzling Evidence: Literatures and Histories
- The 2000-2001 Late-afternoon Colloquium
- Through the lenses of its participants' work, this year-long colloquium will explore the intersections of interests and procedures of the various disciplines engaging the world of early modern England. Sessions will focus most immediately upon the particular papers of the participants but also will be occasions for consideration of the differences among the disciplines themselves, mainly in terms of their understanding of the category of evidence. The early modern period was defined as "early" modern in large part by the emergence of the category of evidence in fields as diverse as law, science, theology, and philosophy. The question of what counts as evidence was therefore central to the intellectual history of the period; it has also become central to the concerns of the disciplines that study it by virtue of the evidence they consider as much as by the methodologies they deploy. What counts as evidence? What are the protocols for handling different kinds of evidence-and are they transferable or even comparable? Our effort to grapple with these questions should not only clarify crucial aspects of the period itself but is arguably the single most important effort of any disciplinary, interdisciplinary, counter-disciplinary, or transdisciplinary dialogue.
- Director: David Scott Kastan is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is a General Editor of the Arden Shakespeare, and is the author of Shakespeare and the Shapes of Time (1982) and Shakespeare after Theory (1999). He has edited A Companion to Shakespeare (1999) and coedited both A New History of Early English Drama (1997) and Staging the Renaissance: Reinterpretations of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama (1991).
- Director: Peter Lake is Professor of History at Princeton University. He is the author of Moderate Puritans and the Elizabethan Church (1982) and Anglicans and Puritans? Presbyterianism and English Conformist Thought from Whitgift to Hooker (1988). With Maria Dowling, he edited Protestantism and the National Church in Sixteenth Century England (1987); and, with Kevin Sharpe, he edited Culture and Politics in Early Stuart England (1994).
Comus: A Workshop
- A Spring 2001 Weekend Workshop held on 23–24 March 2001
- This Saturday workshop is coordinated with a Friday evening concert performance of A Masque at Ludlow by the Folger Consort. Familiarly known as Comus, the masque combined verse by John Milton and music by Henry Lawes for its original performance in 1634 to celebrate the Earl of Bridgewater's installation as Lord President of the Council of Wales. Performers will join scholars in investigating the protean forms and negotiations of this most aristocratic and occasional of entertainments. Stephen Orgel (Stanford University) will present a pre-performance lecture on Friday and return on Saturday to frame the themes of the workshop. Additional workshop and discussion leaders include Sharon Achinstein (University of Maryland), Tom Bishop (Case Western Reserve University), Ross Duffin (Case Western Reserve University), Cynthia Herrup (Duke University), Skiles Howard (Rutgers University), David Norbrook (University of Maryland), Thomas P. Roche (Princeton University), and Lauren Shohet (Villanova University). They will address such topics as this provincial performance's commentary on, and dialogue with, more familiar forms of courtly entertainment; the masque's normalizing prescriptions for women, the aristocracy, and the religious reformer; the semiotics of Lawes' work and its relationship to Milton's larger projects; and the politics of multiple textualities and competing modes of country and courtly dance.
Women Intellectuals and Political Ideology in Seventeenth-Century England
- A Spring 2001 Semester-Length Seminar
- This seminar seeks to build bridges between the recent recovery of women writers, mostly oriented toward questions of a common gender identity, and traditional political and intellectual history, which continues to relegate women to a minor place. The seminar will ask how some of those traditional narratives can best be rewritten in the light of new knowledge about women intellectuals. At the same time it will explore ways in which unitary narratives of a female intellectual tradition can be complicated by an understanding of ideological polarizations and by fuller awareness of the international dimension of women's participation in the republic of letters. It will offer a new perspective on the heavily ideological debates over these topics by setting such canonical figures as Milton and Hobbes in dialogue with women who engaged in the arguments: figures like Lucy Hutchinson and Margaret Cavendish, both of whom wrote Lucretian poetry showing the influence of the "new science" yet whose political and religious views and theories of imagination were radically opposed. It will ask how far current assumptions about the tendency of women writers to favor the royalist cause can be borne out, and will re-examine current models of the role of gender in the emergence of the public sphere. With its central focus on the half-century of political and intellectual revolution from the 1630s through to the Exclusion Crisis, the seminar will explore-with allowance made for participants' research interests-such discourses as political theory, historiography, natural science, heroic poetry and literary theory, autobiography, educational theory, classical scholarship and translation, theology and Biblical criticism, and the visual arts.
- Director: David Norbrook is Professor of English at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric, and Politics 1627–1660 (1999); with Henry Woudhuysen, The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse (1992); and Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance (1984). He is currently writing a biography of Lucy Hutchinson and editing her Genesis epic Order and Disorder.
Shakespeare, Jewishness, and English Cultural Identity
- A Spring 2001 Semester-Length Seminar
- In the course of the early modern period the traditional binary of 'Jewish/Christian' was gradually superseded by that of 'Jewish/English.' This shift complicated notions of cultural identity, especially for Jews who converted, intermarried, or were naturalized. With The Merchant of Venice as its focal point, this seminar, sponsored by the Center for Shakespeare Studies, explores the ways in which unresolved issues of conversion and intermarriage raised in Shakespeare's play recur in a range of early modern texts, challenging stable notions of English racial and national identity. In addition to other Elizabethan and Jacobean plays that engage related issues—including The Jew of Malta, A Christian Turned Turk, and The Renegado —seminar readings will also include sixteenth- and seventeenth-century conversion tracts, such as John Foxe's Sermon Preached at the Christening of a Certain Jew, at London (1578) and Gilbert Burnet's The Conversion and Persecutions of Eve Cohan (1680); Eliza Haywood's novella The Fair Hebrew (1729); and various pamphlets published at the time of the so-called 'Jew Bill' controversy of 1753. The seminar culminates with Maria Edgeworth's Harrington (1817), which returns to The Merchant of Venice in its attempt to reconcile Englishness and Jewishness.
- Director: James Shapiro is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Rival Playwrights: Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare (1991); Shakespeare and the Jews (1996); and "Oberammergau": The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play(2000).
- A Spring 2001 Semester-Length Master's Seminar
- The seminar will draw on the collections of the Folger Library to introduce Master's-level students to the book in early modern England. The primary focus will be on the role of the book in literary culture from 1476 (when the first printing press was set up in England) to 1700. Participants will study the relationship between print and manuscript culture, the emerging role of authorship in the period, and the circulation and transmission of the texts. They will examine selected works in the context of the history of printing, bibliography and editorial practice, English literary history, and literary and cultural theory. The seminar will also introduce students to the theories underlying the editing of early texts and to recent challenges to those theories. Finally, the seminar will also examine digitization projects and discuss the ways that electronic texts are changing editing practices.
- Director: Evelyn Tribble is Associate Professor of English at Temple University. She is the author of Margins and Marginality: The Printed Page in Early Modern England (1993) and numerous articles, and is currently working on a textbook, Technologies of Writing from Plato to the Digital Age (Longmans, 2002).
"The Times are Auspicious": British Art and the French Revolution
- A Late-Spring 2001 Seminar
- "Be encouraged, all ye friends of freedom, and writers in its defence! The times are auspicious." In November 1789, in his address commemorating the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Richard Price spoke for many when he saw in recent events in France the dawning of a new age. Within three years, for those who had welcomed the revolution and pressed for change, this vision had been displaced by fear of anonymous accusation, indictment, and imprisonment. British artists, as well as writers, became engaged in a heated ideological battle that was waged in books, pamphlets, newspapers and speeches, and in the prints of the political caricaturists. Artists developed new ways in which to capture their sense of the unprecedented changes taking place across the Channel. Old artistic forms and old patterns of patronage and display were found wanting. The seminar will look at high art and low, the public and private sphere, and work that celebrated rebellion as well as work that encouraged reactionary hysteria. Developments in England will also be compared to those in France, particularly in the work of Jacques Louis David. Seminar participants will consider paintings, prints, and the personal sketchbook, including works by James Barry and William Blake, George Romney and Johan Zoffany, Richard Newton and James Gillray, and, where appropriate, their publishers and audience during an era of infamous government suppression. Participants will visit major archives of original works in Washington, including the Library of Congress and the National Gallery of Art in addition to the Folger, and they will consult with the conservation departments at the Folger and the National Gallery to understand better how the means of production played a role in cultural change.
- Directors: Michael Phillips is Reader at the University of York, where he teaches at the interdisciplinary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. He is guest curator of the major Blake exhibition at the Tate Gallery, opening November 2000. Author of numerous publications on Blake, his William Blake: The Creation of the Songs from Manuscript to Illuminated Printing is forthcoming in October 2000. He is currently writing a biography of Blake in Lambeth during the anti-Jacobin Terror.
- William L. Pressly is a Professor of Art History at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is the author The French Revolution as Blasphemy: Johan Zoffany's Paintings of the Massacre at Paris, August 10, 1792 (1999) and two books on James Barry, The Life and Art of James Barry (1981) and James Barry: the Artist as Hero (1983). He also compiled the critical Catalogue of Paintings in the Folger Library: "As Imagination Bodies Forth" (1993).