Irish Renaissance Seminar at UCD – “Conflict and Contestation in the Early Modern World “

The first meeting of the Irish Renaissance Seminar for 2017 will be held on Saturday 22nd April in the School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin.

The theme for this meeting is Conflict and Contestation in the Early Modern World. The meeting will convene in Room J207-8, John Henry Newman Building, UCD, and the schedule is as follows:

1-1:30pm: Welcome

1:30-3:00pm: Panel
Chair: Dr Jane Grogan

Dr Marc Caball (UCD): ‘Hugh O’Neill and his Gaelic and Renaissance Cultural Context’

Professor Andrew Hadfield (Sussex): ‘James Shirley’s The Politician: Anglo-Irish Literature and Politics in the 1630s’

Dr Ann-Maria Walsh (UCD): ‘The Boyle Sisters and the Familial Correspondence Network: A Life-Line in Times of Civil Strife and Beyond’

3:00-3:30pm: Refreshments

3:30-4:30: Keynote
Chair: Dr Colin Lahive

Professor Nicholas McDowell (Exeter): ‘The Poetics of Civil War: Shakespeare to Marvell (to W.B.Yeats)’

4:30-5:00: Roundtable
Convener: Dr Naomi McAreavey

Early Modern Studies in Ireland: Current Locations, Future Directions

6:30: Dinner

The event is generously supported by the School of English, Drama and Film, UCD, and the Society for Renaissance Studies.

For further details on this meeting of the IRS, contact Dr Colin Lahive (colin.lahive@ucd.ie)

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Report – Irish Renaissance Seminar at the University of Limerick, 5th November 2016

 

Guest report by Dr Carrie Griffin

The Centre for Early Modern Studies, Limerick, was delighted to welcome delegates and speakers to the autumn meeting of the Irish Renaissance Seminar, held for the first time at the University of Limerick. We gathered on a beautiful, crisp Saturday in UL’s Kemmy Business School for an afternoon of papers on the theme “Early Modern Otherness: Outlaws, Exiles, Outsiders”.

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Our three-paper panel session opened at 1pm with Dr Clodagh Tait, a lecturer in the History Department at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and a member of the executive committee of the Limerick Centre for Early Modern Studies. Clodagh’s paper, entitled “Outlawed Emotions: Lordly Rage and its Consequences in Early Modern Ireland”, was concerned with what the State Papers can tell us about the language around reports of emotional outbursts, cursing, oaths, and verbal violence, in particular focusing on Turlough Luineach, seemingly renowned for overawing others through rage and violent language. She argued that our sense of an idealised Irish lord, an impression formed from the honour values associated with that community and the praise-poetry composed for them, might in fact be challenged by this evidence, which seems to have more to do with emotional responses in a predominantly “face-to-face society”.

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Dr Clodagh Tait

 

The Gaelic lords and the peculiar nuances of Bardic poetry were the subject of the second paper in this panel. Dr Gordon Ó Riain’s paper “A Fifteenth-Century Ulster Poet in Exile”, traced the fortunes of Conchubar, a poet exiled by his patron ÉinrÍ (one of the O’Neill of TÍr Eoghain). From his uncertain position as an outcast in Connacht, the poet composed a poem that includes a warning of an impending full satire; this warning found formal expression in the poem in a tréfocal, and its inclusion augments the kind of praise offered by the poet in this context.

Finally in this session Evan Bourke, a PhD researcher with the RECIRC Project, NUIG, presented a paper entitled “The ‘Burden[some] Sister’: The Reception and Representation of Jean Appelius (nee Dury) in the Hartlib Circle, 1641-1661”, showcasing research on letters that evidence the social exclusion suffered by Jean Appellius, sister to John Dury, that can be found in letters written by Dorothy Moore, her sister-in-law. Though no letters written by Jean are extant, Moore’s letters to members of the circle show that Jean was a problematic figure in the Dury circle: she was considered to be less than pious, and described in very strong terms in correspondence. Bourke’s contention was that the letters evidence a project of ‘othering’ within a close network, containing very great detail about Jean but also a very strong dismissal of her.

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Evan Bourke

After tea we were treated to a plenary lecture by Dr Ruth Ahnert. Ruth, a senior lecturer in Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London and a co-director (with Prof Joad Raymond) of the Centre for Early Modern Mapping News and Networks, is currently conducting research on Tudor Networks of Power, in which she combines digital methods from the field of Complex Networks to study Tudor letters from the State Papers. Ruth’s fascinating lecture, entitled “Conspiracy and Surveillance in Tudor England”, demonstrated how Complex Network analysis can be incredibly revealing for Tudor letters, exploiting and studying similar aspects such as nodes, hubs and edges to reveal similar underlying patters and real-world networks. Ruth showed us in great detail how this kind of collaboration (undertaken with her husband Sebastian Ahnert) can uncover all sorts of activity and connections between suspected spies, conspirators and double-agents that would not ordinarily be discernible in traditional approaches to this sort of archive. One of the case-studies used here were the letters of Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon and the great-grandson of Edward VI, who was a prisoner in London and was exiled to Venice in the 1550s. Ruth’s evidence uncovered an anomaly (an unusual burst of activity) around him. All but one of his letters preserved in the State Papers was sent from exile, and a high proportion of them were intercepted. Courtenay knew he was under surveillance, but he persists in writing to dubious individuals.

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Dr Ruth Ahnert

After a day of wonderful papers we adjourned to the nearby Castletroy Park Hotel for an early dinner and a very jolly time. We heartily recommend the fish and chips!

This meeting of the Irish Renaissance Seminar was sponsored by the faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, UL; The School of Culture and Communication, UL; and the Society for Renaissance Studies. A sincere thanks to delegates who travelled to be with us on the day, and in particular huge gratitude to our four splendid speakers. We look forward to reconvening in the springtime at UCD for the first Irish Renaissance Seminar meeting of 2017!

Guest post by Dr Carrie Griffin, Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature in the School of Culture & Communication at University Limerick.

Report – Launch of Centre for Early Modern Studies, Limerick, and “Early modern Ireland” lecture

 

Shakespeare 400 has kept myself and many Irish Shakespeareans busy these past ten months. With many stage productions, screenings, conferences, public lectures, festivals, and workshops to organise, participate in, and attend, both here and abroad, these wonderful events can seem like a burden and the associated demands on one’s personal finances, time etc. present a substantial challenge. (If Shakespeare is sat merrily in a pantheon of literary gods somewhere, I hope he appreciates all the fuss! And while I’m at it, I hope that Jonson, Beaumont, and Cervantes, who have their own anniversaries this year, are giving him a right ribbing!)

Thus, it was a joy to find that the recent launch of the Centre for Early Modern Studies, Limerick, offered an array of pleasures for the weary early modernist. The launch took place on one of October’s prettiest autumn evenings in the inviting surrounds of the Glucksman Library’s Reading Room. Against the backdrop of the green surrounds of the University of Limerick campus, the audience were warmly welcomed by Dr. Richard Kirwan, the chair of CEMS, and his colleagues. Dr. Kirwan paid tribute to the Irish Research Council for their support of CEMS (via a New Foundations grant) and to his scholarly and administrative collaborators across the disciplines in Mary Immaculate and UL who were instrumental in establishing the new Centre.

The importance and value of collaboration and networking seemed to be something of a theme for the evening, as Prof. Jane Ohlmeyer (TCD) touched on this subject many times during her lecture on “Ireland in the Early Modern World”. The author of several influential monographs, including Making Ireland English: The Irish Aristocracy in the Seventeenth Century (2012) and Ireland from Independence to Occupation, 1641-1660 (2002), Prof. Ohlmeyer presented the audience with many insights into the seventeenth century and into her approaches to and aspirations for early modern research in Ireland.

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Prof. Ohlmeyer and Dr. Kirwan in the Glucksman Library, UL  (Photo credit: Alan Place)

Prof. Ohlmeyer, who has been recently appointed as Chair of the Irish Research Council, highlighted how collaboration can enrich our studies, enabling us to broaden our knowledge and share it with a national and global community. The lecture and post-Q&A discussions reminded me too of the value of encouragement to and role models for emerging scholars; sometimes only senior scholars can take on new initiatives and create opportunities in our fields and the importance of their leading by example cannot be underestimated. Prof. Ohlmeyer continued to urge the audience to apply for funding for research projects and to take advantage of the excellent resources which Irish research has already produced. Should we need inspiration, the fruits of such successful bids were in evidence before us – the foundation of the Centre for Early Modern Studies, Limerick and the digitisation of the 1641 Depositions (a project funded by the IRC, AHRC, and TCD), which Prof. Ohlmeyer discussed during her talk. Prof. Ohlmeyer stressed too the significance of the Bolton Collection; not only do its treasures make Limerick a desirable place to conduct research on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Collection can help us to reconstruct and understand Ireland’s place in the early modern world.

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Prof. Ohlmeyer (TCD, IRC) speaking in the Glucksman Library, UL

Prof. Ohlmeyer’s wide-ranging, illustrated talk on the position of early modern Ireland and its global connections combined a ‘big picture’ approach with fascinating detail. The audience learned of the exotic items found in a washpit in Rathfarnham Castle in 2014. This treasure trove of objects, including shoes, buttons, jewellery, and jars of cosmetics, demonstrated that the Loftus family were fashion conscious and on top of the latest trends. The Castle’s inhabitants were also consumers of luxuries from far flung lands; the pit contained evidence of tea, coffee, and sugar from the West Indies, and dozens of pipes were found, the tobacco likely sourced from South America. A Spanish coin made of silver mined in Peru was also found in the pit.

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Rathfarnham Castle hoard  (Photo credit: Alva McGowan/IrishArchaeology.ie)

Prof. Ohlmeyer discussed Ireland’s maritime connections, including pineapples arriving in to Ireland in the 1660s and the voyages of Irish sailors to Asia and the Americas. Questioning what did it mean to be ‘Irish’ in the seventeenth century, Prof. Ohlmeyer examined the complex identities of social groups such as Irish Catholics, the Old English, and New English. Prof. Ohlmeyer closed her talk by examining the impact on Ireland of the European global empires in the Atlantic and Eastern worlds. The political, social, and economic effects on Ireland were both large and small. For instance, the audience was much amused to hear of Bailey, an inhabitant of Hacketstown, Co. Carlow, who irately complained to the authorities of the loss of his spices and who suspected that the local insurgents who had stole his cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon were using them to flavour their morning droughts!

The launch of the Centre for Early Modern Studies, Limerick, concluded with a convivial gathering and looked forward to the next such gathering in Limerick for the Irish Renaissance Seminar in November.

Report by Dr Edel Semple, UCC.

Irish Renaissance Seminar at University of Limerick on 5th November

The Centre for Early Modern Studies Limerick is pleased to announce that it will host the Irish Renaissance Seminar in November. This will be the first time that the IRS, held biannually in universities around the island of Ireland, will take place in Limerick. The CEMS Limerick, launched last week, is a joint initiative between scholars at UL and MICL.

Irish Renaissance Seminar

5th November 2016

Kemmy Business School, G15, University of Limerick

 

Theme: “Early Modern Otherness: Outlaws, Exiles, and Outsiders”

Light lunch available from 12pm

1pm Opening remarks

1.10pm: Panel

  • Dr Clodagh Tait (Department of History, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick)
    “Outlawed Emotions: Lordly Rage and its Consequences in Early Modern Ireland”.
  • Dr Gordon Ó Riain (School of Culture & Communication, University of Limerick)
    “A Fifteenth-­Century Ulster Poet in Exile”.
  • Evan Bourke (RECIRC Project, NUI Galway)
    “The ‘Burden[some] Sister’: The Reception and Representation of Jean Appelius (nee Dury) in the Hartlib Circle, 1641-­1661″.

2.40-3.15pm: Coffee break

3.15-4.15pm: Keynote

  • Dr Ruth Ahnert (Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Studies, Queen Mary University of London, and Co-Director of the Centre for Early Modern Mapping News & Networks)
    “Conspiracy and Surveillance in Tudor England”

4.30pm Close

[Optional: Dinner in local restaurant from c.6.30pm]

This event is generously supported by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, UL, the School of Culture and Communication, UL, and by the Society for Renaissance Studies.

For further details on this event, please email Dr Carrie Griffin (Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature, School of Culture & Communication, University Limerick).

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Report: Irish Renaissance Seminar at Queen’s University Belfast

 

Guest post by Prof. Mark Thornton Burnett, Queen’s University Belfast

The Queen’s University Belfast meeting of the Irish Renaissance Seminar (7 May 2016), generously supported by the British Shakespeare Association, the British Council and the Society for Renaissance Studies, got off to a great start with the cutting of the Globe Theatre Cake, which was very much enjoyed by the 40 delegates from NI/Ireland and the US in attendance.

The opening plenary, ‘The Curiosity of Nations: Communities of Shakespeare in the Twenty-First Century’, by Prof. Sheila Cavanagh (Emory University and Fulbright/Global Shakespeare Centre Distinguished Chair), offered a fascinating glimpse into how Shakespeare can be debated across the world in a ground-breaking fashion via interactive classroom experiences. We then moved to wonderful shorter papers (Emer McHugh, NUI Galway, and Dr Edel Semple, UC Cork) on the Druid Shakespeare and Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth respectively which prompted lively reflection on the place of Shakespeare in regional and media contexts. Dr Stephen O’Neill’s (Maynooth University) plenary on ‘“It is the digital, / The digital above us, govern our conditions”: Shakespeare, (Mis)quotation and Digital Cultures’ followed, this furnishing delegates with rich insights into the cultural work attached to online Shakespearean communities.

Complementing and enhancing discussion was the concluding roundtable with Andrea Montgomery, director of the Terra Nova intercultural theatre group and of the Belfast Tempest, a stunning and epoch-making adaptation of Shakespeare’s play utilizing Belfast histories and a cast of hundreds. Andrea was joined by cast member, Ilana Gilovich, in the roundtable.

On the social side, delegates attended the launch of the British Council/QUB Exhibition, ‘Shakespeare Lives through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen’, at the Queen’s Film Theatre, and also heard about the extraordinarily wide range of public-facing events being put on as part of the British Council supported Shakespeare 400 initiative, Shakespeare Lives Across the Island: Conversations and Celebrations. A convivial dinner at the French Village Restaurant rounded off the day’s activities.

Prof. Mark Thornton Burnett, Queen’s University Belfast
This is part of the ‘Shakespeare Lives Across the Island’ programme, which can be downloaded here. More #Shakespeare400 and British Council #ShakespeareLives events can be found on the blog using the tag #ShaxIRL400. Follow us on Twitter at @ShakesinIreland.

Irish Renaissance Seminar, 22 November, UCD

The next meeting of the Irish Renaissance Seminar will be held at UCD on 22 November on the theme of “Renaissance Pedagogies”. Further details to follow soon.

The Irish Renaissance Seminar meets twice a year, bringing together academics and postgraduates from across the island of Ireland working on early modern literary studies. If you’ve just started a new position or fellowship in Ireland or are a new Masters or PhD student, you are particularly welcome and it would be great to see you there. Please leave a comment or send an email if you’d like to know more.