2002–2003 Folger Institute Scholarly Programs
Language and Visuality in the Renaissance: Aesthetics, Theology, Theatre
- Leonard Barkan and Nigel Smith
- A 2002–2003 Year-Long Colloquium
- Most scholars of early modern literature and history encounter the relationship between the verbal and the pictorial; whether they are studying poems or paintings; the immaterial text or the material book; the realization of a verbal artifact in the theatre or the realization of royal power in the performance of monarchy; the religious power of the icon or the aesthetic power of the image. Too often, however, the underlying problematic of words and pictures is treated as a matter of secondary or even peripheral concern. This colloquium proposes to place that relationship at the center of attention. Participants will explore how the interconnections of reading and seeing, painting and writing, or drawing and printing operated as dominant frameworks of understanding and analysis in the literature, culture, and politics of early modern Europe. Materials for reading and discussion will be circulated in advance of each monthly session. Taking subject cues from the work-in-progress of participants (around which discussions will be organized), the readings will also include at least one published article or book chapter. The year-long series invites projects that address such topics as rhetoric and figura, playtexts and theatrical performance, the classical tradition and its recovery, the heritage of Horace and Longinus, the lives of artists, ekphrasis, emblems, limning, perspective, portraiture, diplomacy and politics, iconoclasm, iconophobia, scripture painting, and pictorial theories of language.
- Director: Leonard Barkan is 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.
- Director: Nigel Smith is Professor of English at Princeton University. He is the author of Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660(1994) among other works.
The Early Modern Bible
- Jaroslav Pelikan
- A 2002 Fall Weekend Seminar held on 20–21 September
- The Church was born with a Bible in its hand. But at least three historical forces converged and interacted to make the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth Christian centuries a decisive period in the history of the relation of the Bible to both Church and culture. This concentrated weekend seminar will gather up-to-sixteen participants to examine the convergence of the invention of printing, the "sacred philology" of the Renaissance in both Italy and northern Europe, and the Protestant Reformation with its motto of Sola Scriptura. The weekend will be organized around the broad themes of The Reformation of the Bible/ The Bible of the Reformation by Jaroslav Pelikan, with Valerie R. Hotchkiss and David Price (1996). The volume will constitute advance reading for the seminar, and its four themes of "Sacred Philology," "Exegesis and Hermeneutics," "Bibles for the People," and "The Bible and the Arts" will frame the weekend's wide-ranging discussion. Each theme conveys its own prerequisites: "Sacred Philology" presupposes a knowledge of Greek and/or Hebrew (as well as Latin); "Exegesis and Hermeneutics" some prior study of both theory and practice in the interpretation of sacred text; "Bibles for the People" a mastery of one or more of the European vernaculars (including, of course, English) into which Scripture was translated; and "The Bible and the Arts" a scholarly grasp of literature, music, or the plastic arts in this period. Applicants should describe their own research project and specify the theme with which they identify it. Selection of the participants will be based partly on coverage.
- Director: Jaroslav Pelikan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, and in 2001-2002 was a John W. Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress. Of his various books, the five-volume The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine (1971-1989), especially Volume 4, Reformation of Church and Dogma (1984) provides the context of the seminar.
Genealogies of Britishness: A Cultural and Literary Geography
- Clare Carroll
- A 2002 Fall Semester Seminar
- This seminar will trace the development and contestation of divergent conceptions of Britain and Britishness in early modern literary, historical, and political texts to test the limits of the new British historiography. Comparing differences in myths of origin, history, language, law, politics, and religion among and within the four nations of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the seminar will investigate how and why British and local identities were conceived of as either compatible or irreconcilable. The period of investigation stretches from the revival of inherited notions of Britain in the reign of Elizabeth to the union of England and Scotland as Great Britain in 1707. Discussion will focus on texts written at moments of particular crisis, including the Nine Years War, the Ulster plantation, and the rebellions in Scotland and Ireland in the 1640s. Readings from such authors as Camden, Buchanan, Spenser, Keating, Milton, and Petty (including poetry translated from Scots Gaelic, Irish, and Welsh) will open discussion about the ways English writers represented England's conquest and unifying use of the concept of Britain. The seminar will also examine the ways Irish, Scots, Welsh, and even English writers in turn resisted or accommodated this imperfect if at times effectively imposed cultural, economic, and political domination and incorporation. Sessions will address such topics as the authority of the monarch, the conflicting allegiances of subjects, the linguistic, religious, and political divisions within each of the nations, and each region's relation to European political and religious institutions.
- Director: Clare Carroll is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of Circe's Cup: Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Ireland (2002), The "OrlandoFurioso": A Stoic Comedy(1997), and coeditor, with Vincent Carey, of Beacon's Solon His Follie (1996).
Renaissance Paleography in England
- Laetitia Yeandle
- A 2002 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. Enrollment is limited to eight participants. 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.
- Director: Laetitia Yeandle is Curator Emeritus 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: 1400-1650(1992) and with Giles E. Dawson, Elizabethan Handwriting, 1500-1650: A Manual (1966).
Shakespeare and Performance
- Robert Weimann and W. B. Worthen
- A 2003 Spring Weekend Workshop held on 7–8 February
- Shakespeare's plays are unrivaled in their dual appeal: few other dramatists are so widely read as literature and also performed as living theatre. This dual canonicity presents some unique opportunities for thinking about the relations between often competing modes of cultural production (such as literature, theatre, publishing, and performance) and for considering larger questions about the function of writing-or the dramatic text-in performance. How, for instance, do the circumstances of early-modern writing and performance relate to the landscape of contemporary theatre? Does the text have an "authorizing" role in performance? Do Shakespeare's plays dramatize an inherently unstable relationship between the script and its enactment? Will the interface between text and performance change, now that we may be in the waning days of print culture? Is it possible to use Shakespeare to generate a larger critique of performance? This weekend workshop will explore some of these questions as well as others that may arise out of participants' own research and teaching. To preserve the conversational nature of the program, participation will be limited to fifty. A brief selection of critical/theoretical readings will be assigned. A Friday evening performance of Twelfth Night will provide a case-in-point. On Saturday, Robert Weimann and W. B. Worthen will each make formal presentations, and Gail Kern Paster will moderate an afternoon discussion of the issues raised in the morning sessions.
- Director: Robert Weimann is Professor Emeritus of Drama at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books, most notably in English Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition (1987), Structure and Society in Literary History (1984), Authority and Representation in Early Modern Discourse (1996), and Author's Pen and Actor's Voice: Playing and Writing in Shakespeare's Theatre (2000).
- Director: W. B. Worthen is Professor of Theatre in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the 'University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Shakespeare and the Authority of Performance (1997), Modern Drama and the Rhetoric of Theater (1992), and The Idea of the Actor: Drama and the Ethics of Performance (1984).
Artifice and Authenticity: The Ambiguities of Early Modern Venice
- Patricia Fortini Brown
- A 2003 Spring Weekend Seminar held on 7–8 March
- Is it possible to speak of conservative, tradition-bound Venice with its rigid social hierarchy as an early modern State? Indeed, it may well be argued that the complexities of the nation state were foreshadowed by this most perfect Republic, with a political structure acclaimed (optimistically) as a perfect balance of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy; an economic prosperity built upon trade rather than feudalism; a relatively stable amalgam of rich and poor; and a fertile environment for the production of art, architecture, music, and literature. The remarkable success of this city, whose improbable survival in the sea was itself grounded in paradox, engendered a legendary reputation that came to be known as the "myth of Venice." Modern scholars have labored both to substantiate and to debunk the myth. And yet, perhaps the relevant question is not whether the myth was true or false, but rather how this enigma-this pastiche of polarities-was held together by a consciously fashioned civic image; by accommodations to new notions of nobility; by a unique interplay between the public and the private; by the ceremonial and ritual; and by the geographical circumstances that fostered a sense of community. This interdisciplinary seminar seeks up-to-sixteen participants from diverse fields and multiple perspectives for a comparative and intensive discussion of their research on Venice. Particularly welcome are projects that explore "aesthetic space," or the modes and means of bridging the gap between the mythic and the actual in the early modern city.
- Director: Patricia Fortini Brown is Chair of the Department of Art and Archeology at Princeton University. She is working on a book on Venetian material culture, tentatively entitled Refinement without Equal: Private Art and Public Life in Renaissance Venice. Her books include Art and Life in Renaissance Venice (1997); Venice and Antiquity: The Venetian Sense of the Past (1996); and Venetian Narrative Painting in the Age of Carpaccio (1988).
The Early Modern Book in a Digital Age
- Evelyn Tribble
- A 2003 Spring Semester 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. Participants will work extensively with primary materials and will be introduced to the collections of the Library and to research possibilities in the field. The seminar will also introduce students to the basics of bibliographic description, editing theory and practice, printing history, and the role of the book in early modern literary and historical studies, including the relationship between print and manuscript culture, the emerging role of authorship, modes of circulation and transmission of texts, and the role of visual culture in the period. Finally, the seminar will also examine digitization projects and discuss the ways that electronic texts are changing editing practices. A continuing thread in discussions will be the parallels, if any, between the communication revolution of the early modern period and that taking place today.
- 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. Her textbook Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age is forthcoming from Longmans.
Mutualities and Obligations: Social Relationships in Early Modern England
- Keith Wrightson
- A 2003 Spring Semester Seminar
- Relationships of mutual obligation have been described as the most fundamental of all bonds in medieval society. In their various forms, they provided both the template of social relations and the coordinates of individual identity. In the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, many such bonds are deemed to have undergone a process of transformation. That process has sometimes been presented elegiacally, as one of declension. It has sometimes been celebrated as involving the growth of individual autonomy and novel conceptions of selfhood. Such change is often vaguely defined, and is in some respects contested. Yet in the absence of any sustained attempt to reinterpret the essential nature of social development in the early modern period, it remains a powerful theme in conceptions of the making of the modern world. The seminar will seek to re-examine this theme by discussing recent approaches to a variety of relationships of mutuality and obligation in early modern England-the earliest period for which they can be explored in any detail for the mass of the population. These will include relationships within the household; between kinsfolk, "friends," and neighbors; in female networks and trade brotherhoods; in the institutional settings of manor and estate, the parish, voluntary associations, and the marketplace. The aim is to encourage fresh thinking about continuity and change in a range of vital social relationships-their conduct, their idioms, their defining contexts, and their meanings.
- Director: Keith Wrightson is Professor of History at Yale University. Most recently, he is the author of Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain (2000), and coauthor with David Levine of The Making of Industrial Society: Whickham, 1560–1765 (1991).
1603: Kingship Renewed
- J.G.A. Pocock, Linda Levy Peck, Gordon Schochet
- A 2003 Spring Semester Seminar
- 2003 is the quatercentenary of James VI's accession to the English throne as James I. "Kingship Renewed" will reconsider the transformation of both monarchies that ensued. In England, male rule was restored after a half-century of female rule and anxiety over the succession. In Scotland, a royal minority had already become the effective rule of a king with male heirs. The Union of the Crowns transformed the two into a multiple monarchy of Great Britain and inaugurated the period in British history known as that of the Three Kingdoms. In Europe, the end of the wars with Spain began a period of peace during which the English Royal Supremacy and the Church of England played an ambivalent role in the struggle between Calvinism and the Counter-Reformation. King James, a royal intellectual, had his own views on all these matters. Sponsored by the Center for the History of British Political Thought, this seminar will address what he and others thought of the new British monarchy's position in state and empire, church, court, and culture. The seminar is directed by the Center's steering committee, and its discussion is situated in the new British history, revised views of the Jacobean regime, increased interest in intellectual exchange, and the languages of political thought. Visiting faculty will include Christy Anderson, Antonio Feros, Anne McLaren, Jane Ohlmeyer, and Orest Ranum.
- Director: J.G.A. Pocock is Emeritus Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. His most recent monograph is the two-volume Barbarism and Religion: Volume I, The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon; Volume II, Narratives of Civil Society (1999).
- Director: Linda Levy Peck is Professor of History at George Washington University. She is the author of Court Patronage and Corruption in Early Stuart England (1990) and editor of The Mental World of the Jacobean Court (1991).
- Director: Gordon Schochet is Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. He is the author of Patriarchalism in Political Thought (2nd ed. 1988), and his John Locke and the Politics of Religious Toleration is forthcoming.
Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots
- John Guy
- The Annual Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture held on 28 April
- Elizabeth I is one of the legendary personalities of history, but when Mary Queen of Scots, her "loving 'sister' and cousin," returned home from France, the rival queens competed for space and authority in the British Isles. And yet, they had much in common. Leading (male) councillors subverted both their monarchies on gender and religious grounds. This lecture seeks to reassess Elizabeth I using her dealings with Mary and these councillors as a prism.
This public lecture will begin at 8:00 p.m. on 28 April 2003 in the Folger Library's Elizabethan Theatre.
- Lecturer: John Guy is Visiting Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge, and Honorary Research Professor of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. He is the author of Politics, Law, and Counsel in Tudor and Early Stuart England (2000) and editor of The Reign of Elizabeth I: Court and Culture in the Last Decade (1995) among numerous other works.
Women on the Verge of Science: Gender and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe
- Paula Findlen
- A 2003 Late Spring Seminar
- What roles did women play in the transformation of knowledge and the development of new understandings of nature in the age of the Scientific Revolution? Traditional narratives of women's participation in early modern intellectual life have presented women as existing on the margins of intellectual communities in relative isolation from their male contemporaries and from each other. Research of the past fifteen years, however, has considerably complicated this standard account and made a wide variety of women's philosophical, scientific, and medical writing available to a modern audience. A body of scholarship has also documented women's role in the republic of letters as patrons, brokers, and scholars, and it has studied women's relationship with institutions of learning and culture, and as observers, translators, experimenters, and practitioners. Building on this scholarship, this seminar explores questions of gender in a scientific and medical context, looking at its place in medicine and natural history in the early modern period. It offers a close look at the writings of well-known figures such as Elizabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Émilie du Châtelet, and Laura Bassi, and their engagement with new developments in natural philosophy in the age of Descartes, Locke, and Newton. It invites participants to contribute their own research on less well-studied figures in relationship to this emerging story. How and why did women contribute to intellectual debates? How might a closer look at their reasons for philosophizing and experimenting offer new perspectives on questions of knowledge at this time?
- Director: Paula Findlen is Professor of History and Director of the History of Science and Technology Program at Stanford University. She is the author of the award-winning Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting, and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy(1994). She is currently at work on The Women Who Understood Newton: Laura Bassi and Her World.
The Enlightenment and its Others: Irish, British, and American Visions
- Luke Gibbons
- A 2003 Late-Spring Seminar
- This seminar will discuss the history of the Enlightenment in the Anglicized world in relation to its excluded others-Catholics, members of Gaelic culture, Indian culture, African-Americans, and indigenous peoples in America and Australia, to name some of the most obvious historical examples. In terms of key Enlightenment concepts of progress and civil society, these cultures were considered obstacles on the path to modernity. As if affording a culture of consolation, Romanticism became a refuge for many of these "doomed peoples," whether in the form of primitivism, the Gothic, Celticism, atavism, or romantic or cultural nationalism-in general, movements that constitute what Isaiah Berlin described as "the counter-Enlightenment." This seminar will seek to contextualize these categories in a number of ways: firstly, it will question Eurocentric notions of perfectibility and civilization by looking at counter-currents in Enlightenment thought which did not ostracize or marginalize "the Other"; secondly, it will analyze the possibility of vernacular or alternative Enlightenments by examining political, ethical, or aesthetic concepts within native or indigenous cultures; thirdly, it will look at key considerations relating to race, gender, and colonialism which helped to de-limit the Enlightenment to its dominant, Western versions. The discussion throughout will be informed by contemporary debates on the question of cultural and human rights, and post-colonial public spheres.
- Director: Luke Gibbons holds concurrent appointments in the departments of English, Film, Television, and Theatre, and at the Keough Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Transformations in Irish Culture (1996) and coauthor of Cinema and Ireland (1987). His Edmund Burke and Ireland: Aesthetics, Politics, and the Colonial Sublime is forthcoming in 2003.