Events This Week


Renaissance Graduate Seminar

Tuesday 9th May, 5.15, GR06/07

Julie Sanders (Newcastle University)
‘Fire, Flood, Ice and Inundation: Environmental Event and Narrative Description in the Early Modern Period’

Hapsburg Seminar

Tuesday 9th May, 5.00, Senior Parlour, Gonville & Caius College

William O’Reilly (University of Cambridge)
‘Hapsburg Control on the Ottoman Frontier: Medicine, The Military and Vampire Mania in an 18th Century Borderland’

History of Christianity Seminar

Wednesday 10th May, 2.15, Faculty of Divinity, Lightfoot Room

Colin Armstrong (Queens’ University, Belfast)
‘A Laudian in Ulster: The Irish Career of Bishop Jeremy Taylor (1658-67)’

Public Lecture: Professor Sven Dupré

Wednesday 10th May, 5.00, Little Hall, Sidgwick Site

‘Ingenious Failure: Artisanal Languages of Error’

Sven Dupré is Professor and Chair of History of Art, Science and Technology at Utrecht University, and Professor of History of Art, Science and Technology at the University of Amsterdam. He is a visiting fellow on the Genius before Romanticism: Ingenuity in Early Modern Art and Science project during May 2017.

Followed by a wine reception in the atrium, Alison Richard building.


Early Modern French Seminar

Friday 12th May, 2.00, Clare College, Latimer Room

Emma Herdman (Saint Andrews)
‘Singing Out: Avian Uprisings in Renaissance France’



The Dudley White Local History Lecture 2017

Wednesday 10th May, 7.00, Room EBS.2.34, Essex Business School, University of Essex, Colchester Campus

John Morrill (University of Cambridge)
‘Living with the Revolution: Family Dilemmas in Civil War East Anglia’


Events This Week


Embodied Things (CRASSH)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Emily Rose (Harvard), John Robb (Cambridge)


Ralph Roister Doister

Tuesday, 14 March, 7 PM, Judith Wilson Studio, English Faculty

Presented by the Marlowe Society and the Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature (CMEMLL)

Ralph Roister Doister thinks Christian Custance loves him madly. Christian Custance thinks Ralph Roister Doister is a twit. Only one of them is correct.

Join the Marlowe Society as we set out on a new venture–exploring the lesser-performed plays of the early modern period through script-in-hand stagings. On March 14, we begin with Nicholas Udall’s 1552 comedy about a dim-witted man convinced of his own importance attempting to force himself on an unwilling woman. Sound like anyone in the news today?

Presented in partnership with the Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature, the evening will include a panel discussion on the legal issues invoked by the play. Tickets are free and admission is first come first served, but space is limited!


Early Modern European History Seminar

Thursday, 16 March 2017, 1-2pm, Green Room, Gonville and Caius College

Space, Privacy and Gender in the early modern Italian Palace

Sandra Cavallo (Royal Holloway, University of London)




London Shakespeare Seminar

Monday 13 March, 17.15-19.00, Senate Room, Senate House
Gary Taylor, ‘Collaborative History: Parts of Henry VI’


Society, Culture & Belief, 1500-1800 (IHR)

Thursday, 16 March, 17:30, John S Cohen Room N203, 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

Making a record of the self: Individual Stories and Collective Histories in the Archives of the London Livery Companies, c. 1540-1660

Jennifer Richards (Sidney Sussex, Cambridge)


Tudor & Stuart History (IHR)

Monday, 13 March, 17:15, Montague Room, G26, Ground Floor, Senate House

Mini-colloquium on Lord Burghley

Norman Jones (Utah State University), Simon Healy (History of Parliament), Neil Younger (Open University)



CFP: European Shakespeare Research Association conference, Shakespeare and European Theatrical Cultures: AnAtomizing Text and Stage, University of Gdańsk and The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, Poland, 27 – 30 July 2017

The deadline for the following seminars has been extended to MARCH 31st

1. Avant-Garde Shakespeares/Shakespeare in the Avant-Garde

2. “The accent of his tongue affecteth him:” “Accentism” and/in Shakespeare

7. Anatomizing Shakespearean Myth-making: Game of Thrones

9. Staged on the Page: Transmedial Shakespeare in Theatre and Visual Arts

11. The name of action: actors of Shakespeare and Shakespearean actors

12. Shakespeare and Music

13. Shakespearean Drama and the Early Modern European Stage

15. Magic through ritual objects and stage props: Early Modern practices and Modern adaptations

18. Staging Utopias: Shakespeare in Print and Performance

19. Shakespeare in performance in digital media

Seminar descriptions here

This conference will convene Shakespeare scholars at a theatre that proudly stands in the place where English players regularly performed 400 years ago. This makes us ponder with renewed interest the relation between theatre and Shakespeare. The urge to do so may sound like a commonplace, but it comes to us enhanced by the fact that in the popular and learned imagination alike Shakespeare is inseparable from theatre while the theatre, for four centuries now, first in England, then on the continent (Europe) and eventually in the world, has been more and more strongly defined and shaped by Shakespeare. Shakespeare has become the theatrical icon, a constant point of reference, the litmus paper for the formal, technological and ideological development of the theatre, and for the impact of adaptation and appropriation on theatrical cultures. Shakespeare has served as one of the major sources for the development of European culture, both high and low. His presence permeates the fine shades and fissures of a multifarious European identity. His work has informed educational traditions, and, through forms of textual transmit such as translation and appropriation, has actively contributed to the process of building national distinctiveness. Shakespeare has been one of the master keys and, at the same time, a picklock granting easier access to the complex and challenging space of European and universal values.

Please send your abstracts and biographies to seminar organisers (and cc conference organisers at not later than 31 March 2017.

You need to be a member of ESRA to take part in the congress. It is free to join ESRA and you can register here (http ://www . um . es/shakespeare/esra/registration . php).

The list of seminars has been made available on the ESRA and the conference website

Download seminars list here!

Keynote speakers: Professor Małgorzata Grzegorzewska (University of Warsaw), Professor Diana Henderson (MIT), Professor Peter Holland (University of Notre Dame), and Luc Perceval (Hamburg Thalia Theatre)

The congress coincides with the 21st International Shakespeare Festival in Gdansk taking place at the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre

We will continue to update our website with the details of forthcoming productions and special festival events, including workshops with invited theatre companies and meetings with theatre directors.

CFP: Shakespeare Unbound, Conference of the French Shakespeare Society, Paris, 18 – 20 January 2018

The Société Française Shakespeare is dedicating its annual conference to “Shakespeare Unbound”. The topic addresses Shakespeare’s propensity to negotiate with dominant ideologies, his ability to break and renew formal and cultural rules and his long-lasting influence in creating innovative dramatic and poetic forms, new words and thoughts, “And all that faith creates or love desires, / Terrible, strange, sublime and beauteous shapes” (Shelley), Prometheus-like. This conference will provide an occasion for academics, theatre, performance and arts practitioners to discuss Shakespeare and his contemporaries’ abilities to question and renew the boundaries of art. We welcome proposals (in English or in French) on topics such as:

–      The publication and editorial history of Shakespeare’s and his contemporaries’ works — in bound and unbound formats;

–      Shakespeare’s and his contemporaries’ reappropriation of classical and early modern culture, Shakespeare’s “borrowed robes”, his contribution to liberating dramatic and poetic aesthetics, and ability to “beguile Nature of her custom”;

–      Shakespeare adaptations and appropriations from the 17th to the 21st century which have contributed to liberating or rediscovering his work and/or influence.

Selected proceedings will be published in the Société Française Shakespeare’s peer-reviewed online journal: http ://shakespeare . revues . org. Please send proposals by April 25, 2017 to Proposals should include a title, an abstract (750-word max.), and a short bio.



Events This Week



History of Material Texts Workshop

Monday 6 March, 12.30-2, Milstein Seminar Room, University Library

‘The Medical Book in the Nineteenth Century: From MS Casebooks to Mass Plagiarism’
A workshop led by Sarah Bull, Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, HPS


Middle English Graduate Seminar

Wednesday, 08/03/17, 5:15pm, English Faculty Room GR04

Rita Copeland (University of Pennsylvania), Enthymeme and Emotion from Aristotle to Hoccleve


Poetics Before Modernity

Tuesday, 7 March 2017, 5.15pm, Old Combination Room at Trinity College

Gavin Alexander (University of Cambridge)


This paper is about lyric poetry’s place in classical and early modern poetics. That place looks less sure than does that of tragedy or epic—which may be Aristotle’s fault, or due to the nature of lyric; it clearly has something to do with the fact that lyric is hard to define and delimit. I question two common myths about lyric’s place in the system of poetic genres: that there has always been a straightforward and accepted tripartition of poetry into epic, dramatic, and lyric; and, conversely, that this tripartition was only a Romantic discovery. I also resist the direction of the “new lyric studies”, which attempts to challenge the usefulness of the category “lyric” to the understanding of various kinds of short poetry. I trace lyric’s presence in less familiar theoretical settings (grammar, rhetoric) in order to ask if we might consider such treatments as a part of the poetics of lyric. And I aim to show how the interplay between the paradigms and taxonomies of rhetoric and poetics contribute to lyric’s vexed (and rich) status in the history of literary theory. Do Sappho, Pindar, Horace, Petrarch, and Shakespeare actually have something in common that might be captured by the term “lyric”; or should ancient lyric can only be grouped with modern lyric of a strictly neoclassical bent? In considering why it has been difficult to agree about both what a lyric poem is and what features of form, content, mode, or method might characterise lyric, I will suggest how theoretical muddle might be contained by a larger clarity.

Gavin Alexander is Reader in Renaissance Literature in the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Christ’s College. His publications include Writing after Sidney: The Literary Response to Sir Philip Sidney, 1586-1640 (Oxford, 2006), editions of Sidney’s “Defence of Poesy” and Selected Renaissance Literary Criticism (London, 2004) and William Scott’s Model of Poesy (Cambridge, 2013), and the collection Renaissance Figures of Speech (Cambridge, 2007; with Sylvia Adamson and Katrin Ettenhuber).


Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar

Wednesday, 8th March, 12-1:15pm, English Faculty, Board Room

In Collaboration with the Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature (CMEMLL)

Dr Maria Mendes (Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa) will present the following paper:

Praise with Purpose: Flattery in Early Modern England

Susceptibility to flattery has long been considered a character flaw, which is the reason those who believe it are usually described as being vain, proud, tyrannical or conceited. I will close-read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, so as to question if Caesar’s failure to anticipate the conspirators’ plot is, as is usually thought, an illustration of his proneness to flattery or, as I hope to show, an example of the flatterer’s capacity to mirror one’s own mind. Flatterers might be very able in showing rhetorically what the flattered person’s ideal self would look like, and they might in turn tend to supplement rhetorical suggestion with their own desires and concerns. If this is the case, flattery is central to understanding that Julius Caesar describes a hermeneutic difficulty, and characterises the difficulties of knowing another’s mind.


Early Modern French Seminar

Friday, 10 March, 2-4pm, Clare College, Latimer Room

Phillip USHER (New York University)

Exterranean Insurgency in the Humanist Anthropocene


Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesday, 8 March, 5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall

Alice Soulieux-Evans (Wolfson),
‘“Because thou canst not walk in thy minster’s way”: cathedrals, conformity and the Church of England in the Restoration period’




British History in the 17th Century Seminar (IHR)

Thursday, 9 March, 17:15, Pollard Room N301, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

‘The Print that Binds: official print and personal record keeping in seventeenth-century England’
Frances Maguire (York)



Events This Week


Renaissance Graduate Seminar

Tuesday, 28/02/17, 5.15pm in G-R06-07
David Hillman (Cambridge)
‘Farewell as welcome (and vice versa) in Antony and Cleopatra’


Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar

Wednesday, 1st March, 12-1:15pm, English Faculty, Room GR03

Nailya  Shamgunova (University of Cambridge)
‘Queering the Anglo-Ottoman Contact, c. 1550-1700’


Early Modern French Seminar

Friday, 3 March, 2-4pm, Clare College, Latimer Room

Mathilde BOMBART (Lyon 3)

‘La posture insurrectionnelle de l’auteur dans la polémique au XVIIe siècle: du littéraire au politique? Autour de Guez de Balzac’



Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesday, 1 March, 5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall

Jamie Trace (St Catharine’s)
‘Giovanni Botero and English political thought’


Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminar

Thursday 2nd March, 5pm, Room 9 of the History Faculty

John Morgan (University of Manchester)
Storm surges and state formation in early modern England: coping with flooding in coastal and lowland Lincolnshire

Recurrent flooding was a condition of life in low and wet grounds. Erecting dams, scouring ditches and laying drains consumed significant amounts of labour time and money, as the profitability of agriculture rested on maintaining appropriate water levels. The success of one farmer was reliant on another, requiring complex co-ordination and administration. I will outline how flood protection was provisioned, its costs and their impact.



Early Modern European History Seminar

Thursday, 2 March 2017, 1-2pm, Green Room, Gonville and Caius College

Censorship and philosophy in the Two Sicilies, c. 1688-1767

Felix Waldmann (Cambridge)





Tudor & Stuart History Seminar (IHR)

Monday, 27 February,17:15, Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, North block, Senate House

‘Ralph Sheldon of Beoley & Weston (1537-1613): No Catholic or no consequences?’
Hilary Turner (Independent scholar)




CFP: “Show they queere substance”

Details for an upcoming event at the University of Westminster.

A 2015 episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race saw the work of Shakespeare make a perhaps rather surprising appearance on the show. In the episode, titled ‘Shakesqueer’, the season eight queens performed in rewritten Shakespeare plays – Romeo and Juliet became ‘Romy and Juliet’ and Macbeth became ‘Macbitch’. In 2016, the Globe gave us a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Helenus (played by male actor Ankur Bahl) rather than Helena, transforming the relationship with Demetrius (and indeed Lysander) into an overtly queer one. At exactly the same moment, Russell T. Davies inserted a lesbian kiss into his BBC adaptation of the same play – a kiss which prompted Katie Hopkins to declare “I don’t want Shakespeare queered-up so you feel more at home”.

This queer cultural exploration of the Early Modern is happening at the same time that academic scholarship continues to use queer theoretical frames as a way of illuminating and interrogating Early Modern texts and contexts. Notably, this can be seen in John S. Garrison’s Friendship and Queer Theory in the Renaissance: Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern England (2013); Simone Chess’ Male-to-Female Crossdressing in Early Modern English Literature: Gender, Performance, and Queer Relations (2016); and Will Stockton’s forthcoming Members of His Body (2017), amongst many, many others.

This one-day symposium seeks to ask two questions: firstly, what can queer frames tell us about Early Modern texts and contexts? Secondly, in what ways can the Early Modern (be it literature, culture or politics) speak to queer cultures in the present? Or, what do queer reiterations of Early Modern texts and contexts achieve in the present?

Topics may include but not be limited to:

  • the intersections between queerness and race in both Early Modern texts/contexts; and contemporary reiterations of Early Modern cultural artefacts;
  • queer uses of Early Modern texts in the contemporary;
  • queer readings of Early Modern texts or contexts;
  • what it means to suggest that a “queered-up” Shakespeare (for example) might make one feel “more at home”;
  • considerations of contemporary productions of Early Modern plays which draw out queerness or which introduce queerness;
  • queer history/histories.

Abstract of 250 words, accompanied by a short bio, should be submitted to Kate Graham at by March 3rd 2017.

Events This Week


Embodied Things: Histories of Cognition, Practices, & Theories (CRASSH)

Wednesday, 22 February 2017, 12:30-14:00, Seminar room SG1, Alison Richard Building


Rebecca Unsworth (QMUL/V&A), Elizabeth Currie (Central Saints Martins)


Middle English Graduate Seminar

Wednesday, 22/02/17, 5:15pm, English Faculty Room SR24

Marilynn Desmond (Binghamton University), Chaucer and the Matter of Troy: Reading the Blank Spaces in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 61



Poetics Before Modernity

Tuesday, 21 February 2017, 5.15pm Old Combination Room at Trinity College

Jon Whitman

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


It is sometimes said that the narrative of Scripture is the greatest story ever told. The story that I would like to discuss in my presentation is what might be called the second-greatest story ever told. It is the story of the provocative effort to make the greatest story ever told an even greater story—not just a story that speaks to diverse peoples, but a story spoken by diverse peoples, in diverse tongues, at diverse times—a universal story. It is the intriguing record of how controversial movements in poetics come to align Scripture with a broad realm of imaginative discourse once regarded as largely distinct from Scripture, so that sacred Scripture itself comes recurrently to be considered a form of imaginative literature at large.

Scholarly approaches to this critical change have commonly concentrated on the modern era. Despite important research exploring certain earlier aspects of the transformation, attitudes toward the subject as a whole regularly tend to focus on extensive interpretive and cultural developments after the Reformation that lead by the nineteenth century to a “crisis of faith”—a cumulative process in which the divine authority of canonical texts is increasingly questioned, while, conversely, other texts are invested with a virtually religious aura. Though this general view has its point, it seems to me to be historically inadequate and sometimes misleading. Already before the Reformation, for example, there are far-reaching efforts in the Christian world to align biblical writing with other writing, including the poetic writing of non-Christian peoples. These efforts arise in part from an ecumenical impulse in Christian faith itself that aims to ease distinctions between diverse texts and cultures. In this respect, the inclination to coordinate Scripture with literature arises not from the abdication, but from the amplitude, of Christian belief. In the end, it appears that this very amplitude advances the crisis of faith that it is designed to avert, even while it raises fascinating questions about the foundational concept of “Scripture.”

In my presentation I plan to explore some of the crucial turning points in this multifaceted process from the Middle Ages to the early modern era. My analysis will focus on three formative periods and places: 1) twelfth-century France, 2) fourteenth-century Italy, and 3) sixteenth-century England. Whereas early Christian interpretive theory assigns the Christian Bible a unique historical status, a special figural method, and a singular doctrinal position, a number of striking critical texts in these times and settings show how that assessment is gradually transformed. As prior distinctions—historical, methodological, and conceptual—between Christian Scripture and other kinds of writing are increasingly blurred, poetry at large tends to modulate into a form of Scripture, while Scripture tends to modulate into a form of poetry.

It should be stressed that not everyone—either in the past or in the present, either inside or outside the Christian world—has endorsed the development of the “second-greatest story ever told.” At the close of my presentation I would like to open the question of how the complex issues raised in efforts to align Scripture with literature imply still broader issues about the extent to which beliefs and idioms can be translated from one people or milieu to another. From this perspective, an inquiry into the poetics of Christian Scripture as imaginative literature is more than a study of religious and literary change. It is an exploration of some of the attractions and risks in the very drive for human consensus and community.

Jon Whitman is Professor in the Department of English at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research explores the interplay between conceptual and literary changes from antiquity to the modern period, and his publications include Allegory: The Dynamics of an Ancient and Medieval Technique (Oxford/Harvard, 1987) and the edited collections Interpretation and Allegory: Antiquity to the Modern Period (Leiden, 2000) and Romance and History: Imagining Time from the Medieval to the Early Modern Period (Cambridge, 2015). He is presently conducting a multiyear research project entitled “The Literal Sense: Scriptural Interpretation, Poetics, and Historical Change”.


Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesday, 22 February, 5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall

Jens Åklundh (Trinity)
‘“Admett mee again into the church”: individual and communal responses to excommunication in Restoration England’



British History in the 17th Century Seminar (IHR)

Thursday, 23 February, 17:15, Pollard Room N301, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

‘Conscience, obedience and British royalism’
Calum Wright (Birkbeck)


Events This Week


Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar

Wednesday, 15th February, 12-1:15pm, History Faculty, Room 5

Dr Alex Robinson (Sorbonne)
‘Et le roi prit tant plaisir à la musique’: Royal taste and music in the Renaissance – the case of Henri IV of France  (1589-1610).


Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesday, 15 February, 5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall

Elly Robson (Wolfson),
‘“Unles ye bee stronger then wee”: contested justice, sovereignty and violence in seventeenth-century fenland drainage riots’


Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminar

Thursday, 16th February, 5 PM, Room 9 of the History Faculty

Julie Hardwick (University of Texas at Austin)
Accounting for women: account books, petty commerce and re-thinking the transition to capitalism

In 17th-century France, even small-scale traders used ‘account books’ as instruments of everyday commercial activity. Wives usually kept accounts in small enterprises, producing perhaps the largest surviving corpus of non-elite women’s writing. The ‘books’ were freighted with legal, commercial, cultural and personal meanings. The gendering of financial record keeping is one of the ways in which women were integral in the intensification of market practices.


Early Modern European History Seminar

Thursday, 16 February 2017, 1-2pm, Green Room, Gonville and Caius College

“The Trouble with Community and Diaspora: Ottomans in Vienna and Trieste in the 18th century.”

David Do Paço (Paris, Sciences Po)




London Shakespeare Seminar

Monday 13 February, 5:15-7:00 PM, Senate Room, Senate House Library

Katherine Schaap Williams, ‘Unfixing Renaissance Disability’
Simon Smith, ‘Acting Amiss: Pleasure, Judgement and the Early Modern Actor’

Papers will be followed by questions, and then drinks and dinner at Busaba Eathai Bloomsbury (Goodge Street). For more information and to be included on the LSS mailing list please contact Gemma Miller at


Courtauld Institute of Art

Monday, 13 February 2017, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Research Forum seminar room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

‘The making of the sixteenth-century interior in England’

Prof. Maurice Howard (University of Sussex)

The physical interiors of early modern England exist now only in fragments or later re-modellings, but piecing together this evidence shows how care for materials, improvisation and a willingness to use painted illusion gave internal spaces a degree of visual cohesion. Three other kinds of evidence offer more to the historian: the documentary sources of commissions and inventories, the small but significant number of representations in paint and print, the descriptions of contemporaries, all of which sometimes complement each other but often tell us more about their various and highly individual modes and conventions of recording than give us a composite understanding.

Maurice Howard is Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Sussex. His books include The Early Tudor Country House 1490-1550 (1987), The Tudor Image (1995), and The Building of Elizabethan and Jacobean England (2007). He co-authored The Vyne: A Tudor House Revealed (2003), and co-edited Painting in Britain 1500-1630 (2015). He was Senior Subject Specialist for the Tudor and Stuart sections of the British Galleries at the V&A, and is a former President of the Society of Antiquaries of London and the current President of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain.


Wednesday 15 February 2017, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Research Forum Seminar Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

‘Portraits of Art Collectors in Mid-Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth-Century Venice’

Prof. Linda Borean (Università degli Studi di Udine)

In the Cinquecento and Early Seicento, Venetian portraiture developed a sub-genre depicting portraits of art collectors. These, have been generally investigated taking into account the connections between the artist and the patron, since many of them have been executed by the foremost painters and sculptors of the period, including Lorenzo Lotto, Paolo Veronese, Jacopo Tintoretto, Palma il Giovane, Bernardo Strozzi and Tiberio Tinelli. In this paper, I would like to shift the attention from these relationships to focus instead on the way in which portraits shed light on the biographies of the art collectors as we know them from wills, inventories, printed biographies and poetic compositions. This paper explores this topic by examining a series of case studies, including those of Andrea Odoni, Giovanni Paolo Cornaro, Alessandro Vittoria, Bartolomeo dalla Nave, Alvise Molin and Giovan Donato Correggio.

Linda Borean has been Professor of History of Art at the University of Udine since 2001. She is member of the Committee of the Ph.D in Art History. She has been Getty Scholar (2003/2004) and Andrew Mellon Senior Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum in New York (2012/2013). Linda Borean’s research, supported by some grants (Francis Haskell Memorial Fund, Royal Society of Edimburgh Grants in Humanities), concerns history of art and art collecting in Venice in early modern age. She has been member of the project Il collezionismo d’arte a Venezia supported by the Fondazione di Venezia and by the Getty Research Institute. In this context, she is the co-editor of the volumes Il collezionismo d’arte a Venezia. Il Seicento (2007) and Il collezionismo d’arte a Venezia. Il Settecento (2009). She has published essays in international journals (Arte Veneta; The Burlington Magazine) and given papers in international symposiums, universities (University of St. Andrews; Pune, India, Technology Institute; Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence; INHA, Paris) and museums (London, National Gallery; Madrid, Prado; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts).


Society, Culture & Belief, 1500-1800 Seminar (IHR)

Thursday, 16 February, 17:30, John S Cohen Room N203, 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

‘The Company of Inmates: Collective Identity and Self-government in the 17th-century London Prison’
Richard Thomas Bell (Stanford University)


Tudor & Stuart History Seminar

Monday, 13 February, 17:15, Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, North block, Senate House

‘Henry VIII, the colonisation of Boulogne and the development of the English Empire’
Neil Murphy (Northumbria University)

‘Ralph Sheldon of Beoley & Weston (1537-1613): No Catholic or no consequences?’
Hilary Turner (Independent scholar)


Events This Week

History of Material Texts Workshop

Monday, 6 March, 12.30-2, Milstein Seminar Room, University Library

‘The Medical Book in the Nineteenth Century: From MS Casebooks to Mass Plagiarism’
A workshop led by Sarah Bull, Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, HPS


Embodied Things (CRASSH)

Thursday, 9 November 2016, 12:30-14:00, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building


Jacqueline Nicholls
Doors, Gates & Curtains
Traditional Jewish texts utilises imagery of different types of entrances, each evoking particular ideas with regard to the relationship between physical reality and the world of the divine. This visual art presentation will focus on drawings that interpret relevant Talmudic texts about doors, gates and curtains as barriers and entrances.
Daniel Jütte
Living Stones: Architecture and Embodiment in Premodern Europe

Among the arts, architecture is often considered a particularly rational manifestation of human creativity. The desire for the perfect form runs deep in modern architecture, culminating, perhaps, in Le Corbusier’s notion of the “house as machine for living in.” Historically, however, there have also been other, very different ways of conceptualizing architecture. Following the call of this year’s seminar convenors—to “investigate human understanding of the world vis-à-vis objects”—the talk will probe the history of one particular idea: the house as a living being. The focus will be on the late medieval and early modern period when human attributes were explicitly assigned to the house: it had a name and life story, displayed bodily features, and was invested with a specific individuality. I will also address the question of why and when this notion of the house as actor began to decline.


Jacqueline Nicholls is a London based visual artist and Jewish educator. She uses her art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways. She co-ordinates the Art Studio and other Arts & Culture events at JW3, and regularly teaches at the London School of Jewish Studies. Jacqueline’s art has been exhibited in solo shows and significant contemporary Jewish Art group shows in the UK, USA and Israel, and she was recently artist-in-resident in Venice with Beit Venezia. Jacqueline is a regular contributor to BBC R2 Pause for Thought.
Dr Daniel Jütte  is a historian of early modern and modern Europe. He is an associate professor (currently on leave) in the Department of History at New York University. His research interests lie in cultural history, urban history and material culture, history of knowledge and science, and Jewish history. He is currently working on a history of transparency from antiquity to modern times. Jütte is the author of two monographs. His award-winning The Age of Secrecy: Jews, Christians, and the Economy of Secrets, 1400–1800 (Yale University Press, 2015; first German ed. 2011) offers a general history of secrecy in the early modern period, with particular attention to the role of secrecy and secret sciences in Jewish-Christian relations. His second book, The Strait Gate: Thresholds and Power in Western History (Yale University Press, 2015), explores how doors, gates, and related technologies such as the key and the lock have shaped notions about security, privacy, and shelter.

Before joining NYU, Jütte taught as lecturer in the History Department at Harvard University as well as at the University of Heidelberg, from which he earned his Ph.D. in 2010. He has also held a number of fellowships: Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows (2011–2015); Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin (2015–16); and Eurias Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2016–2017). In addition, his work has been supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung), and the Daimler Benz Foundation. Jütte has been recognized for excellence in teaching, but he also enjoys engaging non-academic audiences and readerships, e.g., as a regular contributor to major European daily newspapers, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Die Welt.

Open to all.  No registration required


Middle English Graduate Seminar

Wednesday, February 8, 5:15pm, English Faculty Room SR24

Jackie Tasioulas (Cambridge), The Point of Remembrance in Chaucer and Henryson


Poetics Before Modernity

Tuesday, 7 February 2017, 5.15pm in the Old Combination Room at Trinity College.

Stephen Halliwell (University of St Andrews)


The family of ideas usually grouped together under the heading of ‘inspiration’ forms a remarkably long-lasting component of Western poetics. But such ideas constitute a far from harmonious family; their tangled relationships are too often simplified by historians of poetics. This paper will offer some selective and revisionist thoughts on versions of poetic inspiration found in three different ancient Greek contexts: the treatment of the Muses in the earliest surviving Greek poetry (Homer and Hesiod); the notorious series of challenges to poetic authority voiced in several Platonic dialogues; and the treatise On the Sublime by (pseudo-)Longinus. Three main theses will be advanced: first, that an excessively literalist and primitivist tradition of interpretation has obscured the important sense in which the Muses were never a source external to poetry but a symbolic self-image of poetry’s own powers; second, that the scattered remarks on poetic inspiration in Plato accompany a perception of poetry’s resistance to a philosophical demand (which Nietzsche calls ‘aesthetic Socratism’) for cognitive transparency; third, that On the Sublime makes inspiration internal to the self-perpetuating traditions of literature, but thereby imposes on writers a responsibility which Longinus himself recognises as a potential burden of anxiety. If an adequate history of the concept of inspiration were ever (improbably) to be written, it would need to recognise far more complexity in the ancient roots of this concept than current orthodoxies allow for.

Stephen Halliwell is Professor of Greek and Wardlaw Professor at the University of St Andrews. He has published widely on ancient poetics and aesthetics, especially in relation to the intersection between literary and philosophical traditions of thought. In addition to his monograph Aristotle’s Poetics (1986/1998), he has produced two separate translations of Aristotle’s treatise (one for the Loeb Library, 1995). His other books include Plato Republic Book 10 (1988), The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient Texts and Modern Problems (2002), Greek Laughter: a Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity (2008), and Between Ecstasy and Truth: Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus (2011). He is currently working on a commentary on Longinus, On the Sublime, for the Fondazione Lorenzo Valla series, ‘Scrittori greci e latini’.


Edward II, by Christopher Marlowe

February 8-11, Cambridge Arts Theatre, presented by the Marlowe Society

Directed by Caroline Steinbeis

On Thursday evening, there will be a post-show talk with Simon Russell Beale (Edward II, RSC)

Son to an impressive father, husband to a passionate queen, King Edward II struggles to find his own voice amidst the clamour of stronger personalities in the English court. Despite the disapproval of his nobles, he finds consolation in his relationship with the low-born Piers Gaveston, often choosing his pleasures with Gaveston over the responsibilities of his position. When his queen and nobles unite against Gaveston, Edward must decide how far he is willing to go to assert his own will in the face of hostile resistance.

Christopher Marlowe’s gripping drama of deceit and responsibility is brought vividly to life by the Marlowe Society, Cambridge University’s leading drama society. The Marlowe return to Cambridge Arts Theatre after their recent acclaimed productions of Measure for Measure and Dr Faustus; it has been responsible for launching the careers of some of Britain’s greatest actors including Ian McKellen, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Derek Jacobi.

Tickets available here.


Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesday, 8 February, 5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall

Peter Marshall (Warwick),
‘Reformation on Scotland’s northern frontier: kirk and community in early modern Orkney’



British History in the 17th Century Seminar (IHR)

Thursday, 9 February, 17:15, Pollard Room N301, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

Finola Finn, Durham University

‘The principle of life, both for naturall and spirituall actions: The heart in nonconformist religious experience, c.1640-1700’



Events This Week


Renaissance Graduate Seminar

Tuesday, 31/01/17, 5.15pm in G-R06-07
John Gillies (Essex)
The conversational turn in Shakespeare


History of Material Texts Workshops

Monday, 30 January, 12.30-2, Milstein Exhibition Centre/Seminar Room, University Library

A guided tour of the Cambridge University Library exhibition ‘Curious Objects’, in the company of lead curator Jill Whitelock, followed by discussion.

Places are limited–please email jes1003 to reserve.


Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar

Wednesday, 1st February, 12-1:15pm, Little Hall, Sidgwick Site

Dr Hannah Murphy (University of Oxford)
“No day without a line”: calligraphy, perspective and the craft of writing in early modern Nuremberg


Cambridge Early Modern French Seminar

Friday, 3 February, 2-4pm, Clare College, Latimer Room


Émeutes, émotions: la scène de quel conflit?


Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesday, 1 February, 5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall

Carys Brown (St John’s), Julie Kelsoe (Clare), and Fred Smith (Clare), ‘Historiography panel: toleration, coexistence and neighbourliness’


Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminar

Thursday 2nd February, 5pm in Room 9 of the History Faculty

Christof Jeggle (University of Würzburg)
Divergences or varieties in European economic development?

The debate over divergence in early modern Europe sees the Dutch Republic and Great Britain as the core of progressive economic development, and considers that the rest of the continent lagged behind. Using qualitative indicators I will question the notion of divergence in a continental perspective, offering case studies and proposing some reassessments in respect of comparing economic development.

We normally have dinner with the speaker afterwards. All welcome.


Early Modern European History Seminar

Thursday, 2 February 2017, 1-2pm, Green Room, Gonville and Caius College

Record-keeping as a tool of female self-formation in Early Modern Tuscany

Emma Nicholls (Cambridge)

Attendees are welcome to bring lunch to this brown-bag seminar. Tea and coffee will be served. All welcome.


Writing Women in History

Tuesday 31 January, 11am-noon, RFB142 (the media centre)

Our first session of the new year and new ‘Women and the Law’ theme for the term will be focused on an angry woman, Calefurnia, and the depiction of female rage in the Sachsenspiegel, a Germanic law code circulated in the 13th-15th centuries. We will be reading and considering the article ‘Calefurnia’s Rage: Emotions and Gender in Late Medieval Law and Literature’ by Sarah Westphal exploring how how gender and emotion are framed in literary and legal sources from medieval Central Europe.

Email for article.




Tudor & Stuart History Seminar (IHR)

Monday, 30 Jan 2017, 17:15- 19:15, IHR Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

‘Rewriting the figure of the martyr: John Donne and the foundation of Christianity’

Shanyn Altman (Sussex University)

‘Sir Francis Walsingham and Anglo-Scottish politics, c. 1580-90’

Hannah Coates (Leeds University)


European History 1500-1800 (IHR)

Monday, 30 January, 5:15pm, IHR Past and Present Room, N202, Second Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

‘A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany’

Bridget Heal (University of St Andrews)