“Renaissance Prose: New Directions” – Irish Renaissance Seminar at NUI Galway in May 2018

“Renaissance Prose: New Directions” – a meeting of the Irish Renaissance Seminar at NUI Galway, Saturday 5th May 2018 

1.30pm: Welcome

1.45‐3.15pm: Panel

  • Darrell Jones (NUI Galway): ‘Scribo, ergo mundum est: John Locke’s Scenes of Writing’
  • Jason Harris (University College Cork): ‘Travel for the Feckless: A Few Words of Advice from Bonaventure Baron (1666)’
  • Daniel Carey (NUI Galway): ‘The Early Modern Travel Book as Glossographic Text’

3.15‐45pm: Refreshments

3.45‐4.45pm: Plenary

  • Cathy Shrank (University of Sheffield): ‘Virtuous Matrons and Subtle Bawds: Women (and their absence) in Early Modern Dialogue’

4.45pm: Close of meeting

6.30pm: Dinner (optional)

To express interest in attending, please contact Prof. Marie‐Louise Coolahan (marielouise.coolahan@nuigalway.ie) or Prof. Daniel Carey (daniel.carey@nuigalway.ie).

This event is generously sponsored by the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway, and the Society for Renaissance Studies.

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[Main image: Edward Cocker’s The Pen’s Triumph, 17th c.]

Conference CfP: Writing Lives in Europe, 1500-1700

University College Dublin, 6th-8th September 2018

This conference on life writing/self writing will address questions related to life writing across Europe between 1500-1700, in particular the influence of different religious, social, cultural and national perspectives on the emergence of various forms of self-writing. We are particularly interested in relationships, connections, textual traffic and circulation across Europe through networks such as intellectual circles/coteries, religious orders, and the experience of exiled communities. Life writing has long historical roots, but such writings are arguably the first examples of demotic, vernacular writing in the period. ‘Life writing’ describes narratives that allow us to interrogate how far ideas of self were fashioned by and through various forms of written representation, and to examine the stylistic, generic and social parameters to the formation of identities. Life writings comprise new, hybrid and emerging forms over the period 1500-1700, developing from relatively ‘static’ modes such as saints lives, eulogies, encomia, into more dynamic forms like biography, autobiography, chronicle histories, prison writing, prophecy, sermons, diaries, elegies, monumental verse, and letters. The conference aims to provide a more nuanced account of the emergence, creation and reception of narratives of the self, focussing not just on content, but on narrative, generic and material frameworks that inflect the representation of the “self” according to variables such as gender, class, region, language and religion.

The key questions that we hope that contributors will address include:
1. How do we define “life writing” and what kinds of narratives, texts and artifacts might it include?
2. What are the critical differences between biographically based criticism and the investigation of self writing/narrativization of selves?
3. What are the specific conditions (historical, cultural, local, religious/confessional, familial) that enable the emergence of life writing over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Why then?
4. How useful is standard periodisation for thinking about the emergence of these hybrid, complex forms from (mostly) domestic spaces?
5. How significant is it that women writers and subjects are so strongly represented in life writing, and what is at stake in these representations?
6. How might texts which are generically distinct from life writing be read through this framework, e.g. poems, romances, polemic etc?
7. What role does editing, transmission and circulation play in the construction and reception of life writing?
8. What light might comparative perspectives from other languages and cultures offer?

We welcome contributions from established and early career researchers, and encourage papers that address non-Anglophone writings, although papers will be delivered in English.

Papers (20 minutes) on the following topics are particularly welcome:
– memorialization
– exemplarity
– forms/modes/genres/language choices
– materiality/transmission
– privacy/publication
– historical contextualisation(s)
– authorship/collaboration
– community
– spirituality/religion/proselytising

Proposals (comprising a title, 200 word abstract, up to 5 keywords, and a 100 word bio) should be sent to: lifewriting@ucd.ie by Friday March 16th 2018.

Organisers: Prof. Danielle Clarke (School Of English, Drama & Film, UCD) and Prof. John McCafferty (School of History, UCD).

[Image credit: Print by Andrea Meldolla – mid-sixteenth century (Trustees British Museum)]

Arguing with Edmund Spenser in Contemporary Irish Poetry

Thursday 15th February, 7-9pm
Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin 1.
Tickets: Free, but limited – booking advised. Info from Poetry Ireland website.

The Tudor poet, Edmund Spenser, is not remembered fondly in Ireland, despite his having written most of his major works while living here as a planter and colonial administrator in the late sixteenth century, and despite the interest of W.B. Yeats in his potential uses as an Irish poet. The reasons for this disfavour are all too easy to identify: Spenser’s vicious polemic against both the native Irish and the descendants of the Norman settlers who had become ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’ (as the saying goes) in his political dialogue, A View of the Present State of Ireland.

But Spenser has been an increasingly noticeable presence in contemporary Irish poetry, prompting exploration not just of the darker moments of Irish history during the plantations, and their implications for Ireland today, but also of the opportunities for reflection and even self-examination his poetry offers an Irish reader – and ultimately, perhaps, a re-evaluation of the usual narratives of the Irish literary tradition.

The School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing, University College Dublin and Poetry Ireland invite you to join five poets who have been thinking and arguing with Spenser in their recent work for an evening of discussion and readings: John McAuliffe (The Way In (2015)), Trevor Joyce (Fastness (2017)), Leanne O’Sullivan (A Quarter of an Hour (2018)), Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (Ireland Professor of Poetry (2001-2004)), and current Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (The Boys of Bluehill (2015)).

Tickets: Free, but limited – booking advised here.

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Frontispiece to The Faerie Queene, printed 1590.

Symposium: New directions in early modern Irish women’s history

This one-day interdisciplinary symposium, presented by the Women’s History Association of Ireland, will be held at the Moore Institute in NUI Galway on Friday 16th February 2018.

This will bring together leading and emerging scholars from a variety of disciplines currently engaged in cutting-edge research on the history of early modern Irish women. Keynote lectures will be delivered by Professor Mary O’Dowd (QUB) and Professor Jane Ohlmeyer (TCD). Other confirmed speakers include Sparky Booker (QUB), Felicity Maxwell (NUIG), Frances Nolan (UCD), Clodagh Tait (MI), Evan Bourke (NUIG) and Jane Maxwell (TCD). The symposium is free to attend, but advance registration is necessary.

For further details, contact the organiser Dr Bronagh McShane at: bronagh.mcshane@nuigalway.ie

For more on the Women’s History Association of Ireland, see the WHAI blog here.

 

CFP: Borderlines XXII: Sickness, Strife, and Suffering at Queen’s University Belfast 2018

Call for papers for Borderlines XXII: Sickness, Strife, and Suffering. This conference will be held from 13-15th April 2018 at Queen’s University Belfast.

Proposals for both papers and panels are welcomed from postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in the fields of both Medieval and Early Modern studies.

Sickness, strife and suffering punctuate many medieval and early-modern narratives. When viewed by the modern eye, however, these experiences can be difficult to comprehend and empathise with, without resorting to anachronisms. Indeed, in her landmark treatise on pain, Elaine Scarry contests that ‘[p]hysical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it’ (Scarry, 1985: 4), thus rendering any description or explanation of pain practically impossible, regardless of era.

In the light of Scarry’s work, the specific difficulties posed by the expression and understanding of pain in the Middle Ages have been expounded upon and theorised by numerous scholars. Esther Cohen’s work on the various symbolisms of medieval pain (Cohen, 2010), in addition to Robert Mills’ adumbration of translative pain theories, mapping the medieval experience of pain onto that of the current day and vice versa (Mills, 2005), are just two examples of scholarship exploring this fascinating area of research connecting the human experience of the present with that of the past.

It is in this light that we are pleased to invite abstracts of ca. 250 words related to pain in the Middle Ages and early modern period. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Collective pain
  • Depictions of pain
  • Explanations of pain
  • Judicial literature
  • Medical literature
  • Memory and painNarratives of suffering
  • Pain and creativity
  • Pain and pleasure
  • Psychological pain
  • Social pain
  • Religious literature
  • Suffering in the afterlife

Please send all abstracts (along with a short academic biography) to borderlinesxxii@gmail.com by 5th February 2018.