Burghley Visiting Fellowship

Applications are now open for Burghley Visiting Fellowship, which is intended to support and promote research into the lives and activities of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, and Mildred Cecil, Lady Burghley, and the worlds in which they lived. It provides an opportunity for those actively engaged in research in this area to spend up to two terms resident at St John’s College, Cambridge, pursuing archival research and/or completing a project. Fellows will also be welcome to spend time working in the Archives at Hatfield House.

This is a non-stipendary fellowship. The Burghley Visiting Fellow will be provided with accommodation and meals in College and an additional allowance to cover travel and books. They will be expected to remain in residence in Cambridge and to actively participate in college life for the duration of the Fellowship.

Applications will be considered from staff of any university or other institution of higher learning, and from other suitably qualified persons who wish to carry out scholarly work in Cambridge. Applications are welcome from both UK and overseas candidates. The Fellowship is not intended to support those completing PhD theses but early career scholars are encouraged to apply.

It is proposed that the first Fellow will take up residence in January 2021; applicants should confirm that this is possible for them and whether they wish to spend one or two terms in Cambridge. Arrangements are, of course, subject to any further developments regarding Covid-19 which might affect travel or accommodation.

To find out more about this fellowship and how to apply, please visit the following page: http://www.lordburghley500.org/fellowship.html.

Re-Reading Milton Re-Reading Shakespeare

On Tuesday 30th June, Jason Scott-Warren (Cambridge) and Claire M. L. Bourne (Pennsylvania State University) will be discussing their new findings regarding John Milton and The Free Library of Philadelphia’s First Folio. Register for the event and join the live stream at the following link: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/re-reading-milton-re/register.

If You Don’t Know, Just Ascham

By Micha Lazarus

It’s just one damned thing after another in Reformation England, as I’ve found in my recent work on the major sixteenth-century English humanist, Queen Elizabeth’s childhood tutor, Roger Ascham. Ascham and his friends in the extended circle of St John’s College, Cambridge, sit at the intersection of many of my interests: Greek learning, the history of criticism, neo-Latin drama, and the broad reach of classical reception. So it was a pleasure, when I was invited by Lucy Nicholas and Ceri Law last year to contribute to a volume of essays on Roger Ascham and his Sixteenth-Century World, finally to get around to writing about his famous educational manual, The Scholemaster (1570).

I had always been struck by how much of the Scholemaster is not precept at all, but a kind of intimate personal memoir of Ascham’s life and friendships. Ascham seems to me to talk about education as a means of talking about his dear friends, such as John Cheke and William Cecil—or perhaps, when he talks about his friends, it’s a means of talking about the precepts enshrined in the example of their lives. ‘The Scholemaster’s Memories’ tries to tease out this dynamic transmutation between teachers and lessons, people and books, at the heart of humanist biography, situating Ascham’s manual in the tradition of Greek funeral oratory and exploring the way he constructed intimacy with friends distant, or long-dead, in words.

Now, I never planned to work on book history, but at some point snuffling around in libraries turned into a kind of therapy. Most of the time I live amid piles of things I’m supposed to read, but the stacks are like a box of crumbling, leather-bound chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Besides, if I want to find out what people really thought, annotated books are one of the only forms of truly private writing to be found in the sixteenth century. And just a few months before I started on ‘The Scholemaster’s Memories’ I had unearthed a gorgeous, filthy truffle in the UL: an annotated Greek Aristotle from 1539, inscribed every which way by ‘Thomas Conyers’ and also by his older cousin and college tutor, ‘Rogerus Aschamus’.

This volume sat in Ascham’s rooms at St John’s until the mid-1540s, when it was sold to another fellow, Richard Whyte, and passed through Thomas Oliver, a Cambridge-trained physician, to King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmund’s—only to return to Cambridge in 1970 when the school donated its historic library to the UL. Ascham’s biography, written in 1963, lists a single book owned and annotated by Ascham. Now there were two—and maybe more. A new hunt was on.

I spent the spring on a fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C., but once I got back the summer was devoted to snuffling ecstatically around libraries in London, Cambridge, Manchester, and Glasgow, from Shrewsbury School to Hatfield House. At final count I’d pinned down sixteen volumes, containing twenty-two individual works, owned and annotated by Ascham, and by following cross-references he’d written in the margins I could deduce the existence of at least three more. There was Ambrose, Aristophanes, Aristotle (twice), Callimachus, Demosthenes (twice), Diogenes Laertius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the Greek epistolographers, Hermogenes, Hesychius, Isocrates, and a whole second half of the alphabet you can find in the handlist I wrote up. Lucy and Ceri (and their publishers at Brill) showed titanic generosity in allowing me to add it to their volume as a last-minute appendix of 4,000 words, outstripped only by their olympian forebearance when it turned out almost three times that length.

The best part was that several of these unique volumes complemented my sense of Ascham as someone for whom books and people were in some sense commutative. Friendships consisted in shared reading, and books bore the intimacy of those through whose hands they passed. The largest concentration of Ascham’s books resided at Hatfield House, the ancestral home of the family headed by his friend and supporter William Cecil; in that collection was a Greek New Testament Ascham had passed to his wife Mildred Cecil. A volume at St John’s, Cambridge, was given to Ascham by John Cheke, his teacher and guide, with a touching note of mutual friendship. Another at Shrewsbury was previously owned by John Redman, a Hellenist and theologian for whose warmth and learning Ascham was grateful throughout his life. An extraordinary copy of Isocrates accompanied Ascham around Germany in the train of Sir Richard Morison around 1550, and eighteen years later was the subject of a tutorial he gave Queen Elizabeth just six weeks before he died. These books preserved the concrete traces not only of the private thoughts of a sixteenth-century humanist, but the warp and weft of learned community.

And now it’s back to what I’m supposed to do: polishing up an essay on Sophocles in the Reformation (forthcoming in Renaissance Quarterly, summer 2020), preparing a talk on the Greek pronunciation controversy of 1540s Cambridge (one of my favourite controversies), finishing a book on Aristotle’s Poeticsin Renaissance England, curating two collections of essays with Vladimir Brljak on the long history of poetics before the eighteenth century, working up a second book on the remarkable library catalogue of Alexander Nowell, and most of all getting enough toe-time with my own dear, lifelong friends’ baby daughter. But I’ve made sure I’ll be giving a talk about that Isocrates in April. You never know what you’re going to get.

Events week beginning 13/11/17

Monday 13 November

Political Thought and Intellectual History
5- 6.45, Old Combination Room, Trinity College
Grace Allen (Manchester): ‘A Good Man or a Good Citizen? Aristotelian Politics and the Italian Renaissance Courts’
Respondent: Bryan Brazeau (Warwick)

Tuesday 14 November

Slade Lectures in Fine Art 2017-18
5-6, Lecture Room 3, Mill Lane
Professor Stephen Bann: “Scenes and Traces of the English Civil War”:
“Boots and All: Cromwell evoked by James Ward and Paul Delaroche”

Renaissance Graduate Seminar
5.15, GR04 (different location to usual), English Faculty
Jason Scott-Warren (Cambridge): ‘Distributing Donne’

Wednesday 15 November

Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar
5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall
Neil Keeble (Stirling): ‘The Reformed Pastor as Nonconformist: Richard Baxter after 1662’

Thursday 16 November

Early Modern World History Seminar
1.00-2.30, Senior Parlour, Gonville and Caius College
Alex Bamji (Leeds): ‘Sudden Death in Early Modern Venice’

History of Material Texts Seminar
5pm, Board Room, Faculty of English
John Gagné (Sydney): ‘Paper, Time, and Oblivion in Premodern Europe’

Week 4 Events

Monday 30th October

Cabinet of Natural History 
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Seminar Room 1, 1.00

Andrew Lacey (Columbia University):
‘Experimental reconstruction of the bronze life-cast lizard of the Renaissance’

Tuesday 31st October

Generation to Reproduction
Seminar Room 1, HPS, Free School Lane, 5.00, with tea from 4.45

Boyd Brogan (HPS, Cambridge):
‘Generation, demons and disease: rethinking gender in the Denham exorcisms, 1585–86’

Faculty of English Renaissance Graduate Seminar
GR06/7 in the Faculty of English, starting at 5.15 and concluding around 6.45

Kylie Murray (Cambridge):
‘Elizabeth Melville and the poetics of desire in early modern Britain’

Wednesday 1st November

Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar
Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall, 5.15

Carys Brown (St John’s, Cambridge):
‘Pious friends and neighbourly enemies: the Toleration Act and sociability in England, 1689-c.1750’

Public Lecture
Little Hall, Sidgwick Site, 5.00-6.00

Eileen Reeves (Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature, Princeton University):
‘Five Shades of Gray: Galileo, Goltzius, and Astronomical Engraving’

Part of the Genius Before Romanticism: Ingenuity in Early Modern Art and Science project. For more information please contact Gaenor Moore (gm367@cam.ac.uk)
The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in the Atrium of the Alison Richard Building.

Thursday 2nd November

Early Modern World History Seminar
Senior Parlour, Gonville and Caius College, 1.00-2.30

Wayne Te Brake (Purchase College, State University of New York):
‘Religious War and the Cultural Politics of Peace’

Trinity Hall History Society
Trinity Hall, Graham Storey Room, 6.00-7.00

Malcolm Gaskill:
‘Witchcraft and Melancholy in Early Modern England’

Early Modern Events! Week beginning 16/10/17

Monday 16 October

Cabinet of Natural History 
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, 1pm, Seminar Room 1

Lachlan Fleetwood (Cambridge):
‘”The motion of the blood is in fact a sort of living barometer”: Altitude sickness, poisonous plants & instrumentalised bodies in the Himalaya, 1800–1850’

Tuesday 17 October

Slade Lectures in Fine Art 2017-18
Lecture Room 3, Mill Lane, Cambridge, 5-6pm

Professor Stephen Bann (University of Bristol):
“Scenes and Traces of the English Civil War” – “A Kentish Family in Wartime: The Bargraves of Bifrons”

Faculty of English Renaissance Graduate Seminar
Faculty of English, GR06/7, 5.15-6.45pm.

Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex):
‘Lying, testimony, and murder in early modern England: the case of Annis and George Dell (1606)’

Wednesday 18 October

Cambridge Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar
Trinity Hall, Graham Storey Room, 5.15pm.

Jason Peacey (UCL):
‘”To move the first day of term”: strategies, practices and a seventeenth-century microhistory’

Thursday 19 October

Early Modern World History Seminar
Gonville and Caius College,Senior Parlour, 1-2.30pm.

Peter Burke (Cambridge):
‘Academies at Work and Play in Early Modern Italy’

Events this week!

Monday 9 October

Cabinet of Natural History
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, 1pm, Seminar Room 1

Nicholas Thomas (Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, Cambridge)
‘On Tupaia Street: the travels of artefacts from Cook’s first voyage’

Political Thought
5pm – 6.45pm in the Old Combination Room, Trinity College

David Wooton (York)
‘Selfish Systems: Hobbes and Locke’

Tuesday 10 October

Early Science and Medicine
5pm, with tea from 4:45 in Seminar Room 1, HPS, Free School Lane

James Clifton (MFA, Houston)
‘Joachim Wtewael and the human body’

Slade Lectures in Fine Art 2017-18
5-6pm, Lecture Room 3, Mill Lane

Professor Stephen Bann (University of Bristol)
‘Scenes and Traces of the English Civil War’

Cambridge New Habsburg Studies Seminar
5-6.30pm, Senior Parlour, Gonville and Caius College

Jürgen Overhoff (University of Münster)
‘Montesquieu’s portrayal of Germany’s federal system and its reception in North America’

Wednesday 11 October

Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar
12.-1.15, Room GRO4 Faculty of English

Sara Norja (University of Turku)
“Alchemy in the vernacular: A digital edition of early English manuscript versions of The Mirror of Alchemy”

12.30-2pm, Alison Richard’s Building, Room SG1

Paper Marbling – Hayrettin Kozanoglu (Independent Artist) and Mary Newbould (Cambridge)

Thursday 12 October

Early Modern World History Workshop
1-2pm, Senior Parlour, Gonville and Caius College
You are welcome to bring your lunch. Tea and coffee will be served.

Nicholas Mithen (EUI, Florence)
‘Political Theology and Interconfessional Networks in Early Eighteenth-Century Europe: Francesco Bellisomi between Naples, Halle, England, and Vienna’

Friday 13 October

3.30pm, The Needham Research Institute, 8 Sylvester Road, (situated at the corner of Sylvester and Herschel Roads, behind Robinson College)
Tea and biscuits are served.  All welcome!

Robert Batchelor (Georgia Southern University)
“The Map as Stack: The Significance of Data Layers in the Making of the Selden Map of China (ca. 1619).”


Additional Notices

  1. Reformation 500 – Cambridge remembers the Reformation

    The AHRC ‘Remembering the Reformation’ project based at the Universities of Cambridge and York, led by Professors Alex Walsham and Brian Cummings, is collaborating with Great St Mary’s Church and a theatrical re-enactment company called History Needs You to stage a public engagement event and associated family educational activities on Saturday 28 October. There will be activities during the day between 11 and 4pm. The play itself, which is intended for a general audience, will take place at 7pm and will dramatise key events in the European and English Reformations, culminating with the exhumation and burning of the bones of the Protestant reformers Martin Bucer and Peter Phagius during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary in 1557.This message is to draw attention to this event, admission to which will be free. But it is to request volunteers to assist with the educational events during the day (which will be coordinated by the Heritage Officer at Great St Mary’s, Anna Lovewell), and/or to assist back stage and with the logistics of packing up etc. There are also a small number of walk-on/extra roles for men who can act as clerics. Costumes will be supplied.

    Anyone who is interested in volunteering should contact Alex Walsham on amw23@cam.ac.ukas soon as possible.

    A press release about the event is below.

    Reformation 500
    Cambridge remembers the Reformation

    2017 will be commemorated across the UK and beyond as the 500th
    anniversary of the start of the Reformation. 31 October 1517 is
    the day on which Martin Luther is famously reputed to have nailed
    his theses to the door in Wittenberg, lighting the blue
    touch-paper of the Reformation. Cambridge has been described as
    the cradle of the Reformation in England and many significant
    events took place in and around Great St Mary’s church.

    Join us on Saturday 28 October, 11am to 4pm for a free family
    activity day in Great St Mary’s, with hands-on craft activities,
    Tudor music and drama, exploring the events of 500 years ago. Meet
    King Henry VIII and a host of Tudor heroes, villains, heretics and
    villagers and experience the sights and sounds of long ago.

    Reformation 500 will dramatise how Martin Luther’s theses
    changed history in England with a spectacular play in GSM,
    starting at 7pm on 28 October. Drama, music, kings, queens,
    martyrdom, tragedy and redemption, the tumultuous events of the
    Reformation in Cambridge are brought to life in the beautiful
    setting of Great St. Mary’s. There will be a wine reception
    during the interval and an opportunity to meet the cast in
    character. There is no ticketing for this event, but we recommend
    you arrive in good time to be sure of a seat.

    Reformation 500 is is a collaboration between Remembering the
    Reformation, Great St. Mary’s church and HistoryNeedsYou.
    Remembering the Reformation is an AHRC-funded research project
    based at the Universities of Cambridge and York. Reformation 500
    is written and directed by Matthew Ward, Director of
    HistoryNeedsYou. He has worked on many well-known productions
    including Poldark and Horrible Histories for the BBC.