Wednesday: The Reading Group Transpros’d!

Following a brief hiatus, the Exeter Renaissance Reading Group will continue to meet at 4 p.m on alternate Wednesdays in the Queen’s Senior Common Room.  The group’s next meeting will take place this Wednesday, 25th of November.  The reading — announced some months ago on this site, so no excuses! — is Andrew Marvell’s Rehearsal Transpros’d. We look forward to seeing you there!


Wednesday: Chaudhuri on the Indian Ocean Trade, 1600-1800

The Exeter Centre for Martime Historical Studies is hosting a speaker this Wednesday 25 November, 4-6pm in Amory Room 128, which may be of great interest to early modernists:

Professor Sushil Chaudhury, ‘Indian Ocean Trade 1600-1800’.

All are welcome to attend.

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

CFP: Teutonic Philosophy at Oxford


Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) in context, his life and the reception of his writings

A conference to be held at the University of Oxford

16-18 September 2010

The theosophical works of Jacob Boehme [or Jakob Böhme] (1575–1624), the ‘inspired cobbler’ of Görlitz, have influenced Western culture in complex and profound ways, from the radical sects of the English Civil Wars to twentieth-century Russian Orthodox theology. This interdisciplinary conference will draw on the insights of literary, philosophical, theological and historical scholarship to illuminate Boehme’s thought and trace the reception of his writings over four centuries.

We would particularly welcome papers on the legacy of the Radical Reformation and the sixteenth-century anticlerical tradition, alchemy, Hermeticism, medicine, mysticism, radical religious ideas during the English Revolution, John Pordage, the Philadelphian Society, Pietism, William Law, Emanuel Swedenborg and the Swedenborgians, William Blake, Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Martin Heidegger, American Transcendentalism and Eastern Orthodox Sophiology.

Confirmed speakers include: Vittoria Feola, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Ariel Hessayon, Glenn Magee, George Pattison, Marsha Keith Schuchard, Jane Shaw, Nigel Smith, Arthur Versluis, and Andrew Weeks.

Proposals for papers (maximum 300 words) are invited, and should be sent by 15 January 2010 to:

Ariel Hessayon, Department of History, Goldsmiths, University of London


Sarah Apetrei, Keble College, University of Oxford


Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Updated post: Next Exeter Medieval Seminar

Barbara Mosse’s talk on “The Monk of Farne” scheduled for Tuesday 24 November has unfortunately been cancelled.  The next meeting of the Exeter Medieval Seminar will now take place on Tuesday 8 December, 4-5:30 pm in Queen’s MR3.  Professsor Nigel Morgan (Corpus Christi, Cambridge) will speak on “Exeter Use and Sarum Use.” 

Wine Afterwards.

Published in: on November 19, 2009 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

CFP: Ritual and Ceremony at Birkbeck

From Coronation to Chari-Vari: The Many Uses of Ritual and Ceremony in the Early Modern World

A One Day Colloquium at Birkbeck, University of London

Friday 24 September, 2010

Call For Papers

As part of Birkbeck’s thriving research culture, this event will bring together scholars to discuss the purpose and reception of ritual and ceremony in the early modern period. Professor Jeroen Duindam, Groningen University, will give a key-note address on Thursday evening, 23 September. Researchers from all disciplines are cordially invited to submit proposals for 25 minute papers for this colloquium in central London on 24 September 2010.

Early modern life was shaped by ritual and ceremony. These rites had many functions, such as marking time, denoting power, place and order, and defining the sacred. Ritual could provide a temporary release from the hierarchically ordered world or mark an attempt to assert and confirm social categories which were otherwise potentially unstable.

How do we define a ritual, and is this different from the early modern definition? How does ritual differ from ceremony? To what extent did rituals remain static despite their rapidly changing social, cultural and intellectual contexts? How, when, why, and by whom were ceremonies changed? Did contemporaries notice similarities between rites practised in disparate social or cultural contexts? How was the success or failure of a ceremony measured? Could ordinary people affect the performance of rituals which were practiced by the elite, and vice versa? Preference will be given to papers which tease out issues such as these and seek to engage afresh with the historiography.

We are interested in hearing about ritual in the broadest sense and from all areas of the early modern world, including the royal courts, the church, universities, corporations, fraternities, sororoties, and guilds, and everyday customs, both rural and urban, as well as special and exceptional occasions. Papers could address themes such as authority and subversion, order and disorder, reception and perception, and so draw attention to what degree rituals were formal or spontaneous, solemn or riotous, conservative or revolutionary.

Please send abstracts of 250 words maximum together with a brief CV to the organisers, Stephen Brogan and Anne Byrne, at Please send any other enquiries to this address too. The deadline for submission is 22 January 2010.

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday 18/11: Wynn on Pornotopia

The next Exeter Early Modern Seminar will take place this coming Wednesday, 18 November, at 4pm, in Amory 417. The speaker is Tom Wynn (French, Exeter); his paper is entitled:

Mythology and Pornotopia in Eighteenth-Century French Erotic Theatre.

Refreshments will follow. All welcome.

Recently Published: McRae on Domestic Travel

Andrew McRae’s Literature and Domestic Travel in Early Modern England appeared in October 2009 from Cambridge University Press. 

In the early modern period, the population of England travelled more than is often now thought, by road and by water: from members of the gentry travelling for pleasure, through the activities of those involved in internal trade, to labourers migrating out of necessity. Yet the commonly held view that people should know their places, geographically as well as socially, made domestic travel highly controversial. Andrew McRae examines the meanings of mobility in the early modern period, drawing on sources from canonical literature and travel narratives to a range of historical documents including maps and travel guides. He identifies the relationship between domestic travel and the emergence of vital new models of nationhood and identity. An original contribution to the study of early modern literature as well as travel literature, this interdisciplinary book opens up domestic travel as a vital and previously underexplored area of research.

Andrew McRae is Professor of English at the University of Exeter.

Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Out This Month: The Oxford Handbook of Milton

The Oxford Handbook of Milton, edited by Nicholas McDowell (Exeter) and Nigel Smith (Princeton), will be published later this month. 

Four hundred years after his birth, John Milton remains one of the greatest and most controversial figures in English literature. The Oxford Handbook of Milton is a comprehensive guide to the state of Milton studies in the early twenty-first century, bringing together an international team of thirty-five leading scholars in one volume. The rise of critical interest in Milton’s political and religious ideas is the most striking aspect of Milton studies in recent times, a consequence in great part of the increasingly fluid relations between literary and historical study. The Oxford Handbook both embodies the interest in Milton’s political and religious contexts in the last generation and seeks to inaugurate a new phase in Milton studies through closer integration of the poetry and prose. There are eight essays on various aspects of Paradise Lost, ranging from its classical background and poetic form to its heretical theology and representation of God. There are sections devoted both to the shorter poems, including ‘Lycidas’ and Comus, and the final poems, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. There are also three sections on Milton’s prose: the early controversial works on church government, divorce, and toleration, including Areopagitica; the regicide and republican prose of 1649-1660, the period during which he served as the chief propagandist for the English Commonwealth and Cromwell’s Protectorate, and the various writings on education, history, and theology. The opening essays explore what we know about Milton’s biography and what it might tell us; the final essays offer interpretations of aspects of Milton’s massive influence on later writers, including the Romantic poets.

Further information on the Oxford University Press website.

Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday 4 November: Exeter Early Modern Seminar Mini-Colloquium

The Exeter early modern seminar will meet tomorrow, Wednesday 4 November at 4pm, in Amory 417.

Our speakers are:

Jo Esra, ‘Truro’s Phippen Memorial: A small Monument of Great Mercy, or a Narrative of Religious Infidelity


Andy McInnes, ‘Pricks, Plenipotentiaries and Pornography: The Sexual/Textual Politics of James Gillray’s Graphic Satire’,

All welcome. Refreshments will follow the papers.