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)




Events This Week


Renaissance Graduate Seminar

Tuesday, 01/11/16, 5.15pm in G-R06-07
Andy Kesson (Roehampton)
‘Peculiar houses: building public theatres in Elizabethan London’


Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar

Wednesday, November 2, 12-1:15pm
English Faculty, Room GR03

Professor Naomi Standen (University of Birmingham)
Options and Experiments: Defining the ‘Global Middle Ages’


Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesday, 2 November, 5.15pm
Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall

Sarah Ward (Oxford)
‘“This rebellion against heaven”: the north-east Welsh gentry, royalism, and the Church of England’


Early Modern European History

Thursday, November 3, 1-2pm, Green Room, Gonville and Caius College

Tom Hamilton (Cambridge)
Sharing Beds: Intimacy and Social Hierarchy in Early Modern France


Writing Women in History

11am-12pm, 1 November, RFB 142

‘Women entering convent life’

Texts available on the website




Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy Seminar (IHR)

Thursday, November 3, 5:15 PM
Room SH246, 2nd floor, South block, Senate House

Niccolò Fattori (Royal Holloway)
With a little help from my friends – Networks of mutual support in the Greek community of Ancona during the sixteenth century


British History in the 17th Century Seminar (IHR)

Thursday, November 3, 5:15 PM

Pollard Room N301, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

Bethany Marsh (Nottingham)
The experience of charitable aid in the British and Irish Civil Wars: the reception of Irish Refugees in the English localities, 1641 to 1651



Events This Week

Things are getting busy! Here are some events taking place this coming week in Cambridge and London.


Renaissance Graduate Seminar

Tuesday, October 18 at 5.15pm in G-R06-07

Sue Wiseman (Birkbeck)
‘Wheatcroft’s Written World’

History of Material Texts

Wednesday 19th October, 12:30-2, Board Room, Faculty of English

Matthew Symonds (University College London/CELL) will introduce the Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe Project and the new Digital Bookwheel (

Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar

Wednesday, 19th October, 12-1:15pm
English Faculty, Room GR03

Dr Jonathan Willis (University of Birmingham)
‘Towards a Cultural History of Theology: The Ten Commandments and Popular Belief in Reformation England’

Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesday, 19 October, 5.15pm,
Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall
Kate Peters (Murray Edwards)
‘Friction in the archives: contested record-keeping in the English Revolution’

Early Modern European History Seminar

Thursday, 20 October 2016, 1-2pm in the Green Room, Gonville and Caius College

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

Daniel Jütte (Harvard / CRASSH EURIAS Junior Fellow)
Defenestration as Ritual Punishment: Windows, Power, and Political Culture in Early Modern Europe

Writing Women in History Reading Group

Tuesday, October 18, Room 142 (Media Centre) of the Raised Faculty Building, Sidgwick Site from 11.00-12.00.

This term our theme is ‘Women and Religious Communities’, where we will be tracing the experiences of nuns and female missionaries across the Early Modern world, ranging from Florence to Moscow and beyond. Towards the end of term we will also be welcoming a graduate speaker from the University of Warwick who will speak to us about a female convent community in Medieval France.
In our first session, on Tuesday 18th October, we will be looking at convent regulation and the issue of enclosure comparatively in 16th-century Italy and Muscovy (Early Modern Russia). We will be reading an article by Silvia Evangelisti entitled “We do not have it, and we do not want it: Women, Power and Convent Reform in Florence”, in conjunction with some contemporary convent rules, focussing predominantly on a source from a nunnery in Moscow (provided in translation). Email to receive texts in advance of the session, and to be added to the mailing list.



London Shakespeare Centre (KCL)

Still Shakespeare

Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31)

20/10/2016 (19:00-20:30)

Part of the Arts and Humanities Festival 2016.

Presented by the London Shakespeare Centre as part of Shakespeare400

This event is open to all and free to attend, but booking is required via eventbrite.

Please direct enquiries to

Register at

‘Still Shakespeare’ – animated shorts screening

Still Shakespeare is a slate of five artists’ short animated films including new works by Shaun Clark, Sharon Liu, Kim Noce and Farouq Suleiman and Jonathan Bairstow. The film aredeveloped in partnership with the London Shakespeare Centre at King’s College London, animation company Film Club at Th1ng and animation company Sherbet.

The aim of the project was to create contemporary artworks that take iconic Shakespearean imagery as their starting point and respond in a variety of irreverent and original ways, making Shakespeare current and engaging to wide audiences and adding a contemporary element to the Shakespeare400 worldwide celebrations in 2016. The artist filmmakers were given access to the research and expertise of the London Shakespeare Centre.

The key research feeding into the project was the PhD by Sally Barnden, in the Department of English Language & Literature. Sally’s research on the intersection of Shakespeare’s plays, performance and photography is concerned with the way that certain well-known iconic images have been absorbed into a shared cultural memory.

The films will be screened, followed by a discussion of the work with some of the artists and members of the London Shakespeare Centre.


London Renaissance Seminar

The London Renaissance Seminar meets at Birkbeck regularly to discuss the literature, culture and history of the English Renaissance. It is free and welcomes all students, academics and people with an interest in the Renaissance or early modern period.

Buried Things in Early Modern Culture: Poetics, Epistemology and Practice

12 – 5 pm, Saturday 22 October 2016

Room 114, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

What role did the practice and figuration of burial play in producing knowledge in Renaissance England? Drawing connections between literature, natural philosophy, urban history and material culture, speakers explore the significance, uses and problems of the lost and buried in early modern culture.

Featuring Elizabeth Swann (Cambridge): The Consolation of (natural) philosophy: knowing death in early modern England (1:10-1:50)


Courtauld Institute of Art

A Graphic Imperative: The impact of print and printed images upon Michelangelo’s design for the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Wednesday 19 October 2016
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

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

Free, open to all.

Dr Charles Robertson: Oxford Brookes University

The Sistine Ceiling stands at a cusp of a development in artistic production. While it preceded the moment when printmaking became a fully integrated, and often determining, part of artistic production, through the interaction of Raphael and his followers with Marcantonio Raimondi and other printmakers, the Ceiling was already created when the visual senses of both the artist and his public were already profoundly affected by printmaking and printed illustrated books.  Michelangelo’s earliest work was a painted version of the Temptation of Saint Anthony by Martin Schöngauer, marking only the beginning of an ingrained fascination with prints apparent in his adaptation of printed images by artists ranging from Andrea Mantegna to Albrecht Dürer.  Michelangelo was also particularly drawn to illustrated books. This went well beyond the illustrated vernacular Bibles, that he certainly used, and  provided both specific instances for the Ceilings ichnographic invention together with formal and design solutions. Furthermore it may be suggested that the viability of the stylistic revolution that the Ceiling represented within the broad context of the High Renaissance depended, in part, on an audience which itself avidly consumed a wide range of printed images.

Charles Robertson is Senior Lecturer in History of Art, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, Oxford Brookes University.  His research interests and publications include studies of Milanese art and architecture, particularly the work of Bramantino, the relationship of painting and architecture in the Renaissance, the impact of printmaking, and Michelangelo.   He is currently completing a study of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement as a highly contingent work.


Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy Seminar (IHR)

Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, North block, Senate House unless otherwise stated

Thursday, 20 October, 17.15

New: Research clinic.  Bring a research problem, big or small, for the seminar to discuss (and solve?)


British History in the 17th Century Seminar (IHR)

Pollard Room N301, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

Thursday, 20 October, 17:15

DeAnn DeLuna (UCL)
The Monmouth plot of 1675



Events This Week


Renaissance Graduate Seminar

Tuesday 17 May, at 5.15pm in GR06/7 in the Faculty of English

Michael Schoenfeldt, ‘New pleasures and old pain: Donne and sensation’.

Throughout his rich and varied corpus, John Donne repeatedly seeks
meaning in the sensations of pleasure and pain. His literary career is
marked by robust avowals of the pleasures of lyric intimacy, as well as
by urgent expositions of the conventional pains of religious suffering.
In this paper, I argue that part of what is distinctive and compelling
about Donne is his careful attention to sensation. While Donne may have
only been partly successful in the attempt to find a lexicon of
suffering that could escape an inherited logic of redemptive pain, he
succeeded admirably in the effort to carve out an emergent discourse of
sanctioned erotic pleasure.

Michael Schoenfeldt is the John Knott Professor of English at the
University of Michigan, where he has taught since he received his Ph.D.
from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985. He is also a Life
Member of Clare Hall. He is the author of /Prayer and Power: George
Herbert and Renaissance Courtship/ (University of Chicago Press, 1991),
/Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in
Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton/ (Cambridge, 1999) and /The
Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare’s Poetry/ (2010); and editor of
the /Blackwell Companion to Shakespeare’s Sonnets/ (2006).He is
currently editing /John Donne in Context/ for Cambridge, working on a
book for Blackwell’s entitled /Reading Seventeenth-Century Poetry/, and
researching a book-length study of pain and pleasure in early modern


Cambridge New Habsburg Studies Network Annual Lecture

‘The Habsburgs and their Eastern Neighbours: Re-evaluating the Religious Landscape of 16th-century Central Europe’

Tuesday, 17th May 2016, Leslie Stephen Room, Trinity Hall, 5pm-6:30pm

Professor Howard Louthan (Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota)

While relations between the Habsburgs and their Valois, Tudor, and Ottoman rivals have been well studied, their connections with their eastern neighbors, the Jagiellonians, have not been examined with the same degree of scrutiny.  The paper will first offer an overview of the complicated web of relationships that developed between the two families.   I will then argue that a fixation with diplomatic and dynastic history has obscured our vision of a common cultural and intellectual landscape the families shared.  We will pay specific attention to a great scandal that occurred in mid-sixteenth century Poland and unpack that incident to explore some of the distinctive features of a multiconfessional religious culture that developed across Central Europe during the Age of Reform.


Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar

Wednesday, 18 May, 12-1:30 PM

Liesbeth Corens (Jesus College, Cambridge):

‘Witnessing, Mission, and English Catholic Counter-Archives’

SR-24, Faculty of English


Cambridge Medieval Paleography Workshop

Friday 20 May 2016, Milstein Seminar Room, Cambridge University Library, 2-4 PM.

Dr. Katya Chernakova: Title To Be Announced.

Dr. Eyal Poleg: ‘The Late Medieval Bible’

The Cambridge Medieval Palaeography Workshop is a forum for informal discussion on medieval script and scribal practices, and on the presentation, circulation and reception of texts in their manuscript contexts. Each workshop focuses upon a particular issue, usually explored through one or more informal presentations and general discussion. All are welcome.




Courtauld Institute of Art

Renaissance Work-in-Progress seminars

‘Titian and the Renaissance Model’

Wednesday 18 May 2016 – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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

Dr Joost Keizer: University of Groningen
Titian’s models muddle the boundaries between art and life. They lived in two worlds: in the social world and the world of the artwork. The questions assembled in the model were therefore not just aesthetic; they also redefined art’s relationship to life. How much distance should art take from lived experience? And how much does our perception of reality change when art trespasses the territory of the real? These questions are the subject of this talk.

Dr Joost Keizer (PhD Leiden University ’08) is Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen. He has written Michelangelo and the Politics of Art (Yale University Press), The Realism of Piero della Francesca: The Life & the Work (Ashgate), and a book on Leonardo da Vinci with illustrations by Christina Christoforou (Laurence King). He has co-edited a volume on The Transformation of the Vernacular in Early Modernity. And he has published articles on Michelangelo, fifteenth-century portraiture, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, and the concept of style.


Institute of Historical Research (UCL):

Early Modern Material Cultures Seminar

Wednesday, 18 May, 5.15 pm

‘Divers other trifles: the material culture of the sugar banquet in early modern England’

Louise Stewart

In sixteenth and seventeenth-century England, sweet banquets consisting of preserved fruits, confections such as comfits and lozenges, and sculptures in sugar paste or marzipan were a significant element of aristocratic and gentry sociability.  Indeed, an elite person in early modern England would expect to be entertained with a sweet banquet at every wedding, christening and funeral as well as at other significant social occasions hosted by their peers.  What meanings did the banquet hold that led it to be so closely associated with these important life events?

This paper invites the audience to tour the spaces in which foods for the banquet were prepared and consumed; the banqueting house, the sweetmeat closet, and the child-bed chamber.  Inventories of these spaces, surviving material culture and contemporary descriptions of banqueting provide new insights as to why the sugar banquet was so pervasive in early modern England.  It provided opportunities for participants to demonstrate their refined manners, excellent education, good connections, virtue and inherent nobility.  As a cultural practice which was associated with femininity, did the sugar banquet also provide opportunities for female empowerment and creative expression?

Venue: Pollard Room N301, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House


Medieval and Tudor London Seminar

Thursday, 19 May, 5.15pm

Gogmagog and Corineus: from the West Country to the New Troy 
‘Trojans and giants on the sea-coast of Totnes’
John Clark (Museum of London)

‘Gogmagog come(s) to London’
Alixe Bovey (Courtauld Institute of Art)


Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, North block, Senate House


Events This Week


Renaissance Graduate Seminar

Tuesday 3 May, at 5.15pm in GR06/7.

Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson (Cambridge)

Richard II and the Early Modern Almanac’

In its descriptions of the political world, /Richard II/ makes extensive
use of figurative language drawn from both therapeutics and husbandry.
The pattern of this language underpins the play’s nationalism and its
concern with the cyclical nature of kingship; following it can help
explain why, for instance, Richard is a less successful statesman than
Bolingbroke or why the Gardener can so confidently criticise the king.
There is one genre of early modern popular writing that shares the
play’s linguistic field and its vision of history, nationhood, and
political order: the almanac. This paper positions /Richard II/ in the
culture of almanac use that proliferated in the 1590s and asks how much
the experience of reading and applying almanacs to the body and the soil
might have influenced the play’s language and vision. More broadly, it
asks: To what extent can Shakespeare’s interest in the popular practice
of almanac use explain the development of the new historical genre that
he was bringing to the stage in this decade?

Bonnie Lander Johnson is Fellow and Lecturer at Selwyn College,
Cambridge. She is the author of /Chastity in Early Stuart Literature and
Culture/ and is editing /Blood Matters/, a collection of
interdisciplinary essays as part of The Blood Project
( <>). This paper
is part of her current writing on Shakespeare and botany.


Wednesdays 12-1.30pm, SR-24 (Faulty of English)

4th May
Micha Lazarus (Trinity College, Cambridge)
“Nowell’s Little Soldiers: Terence, Seneca, and the God Aesculapius in 1540s Westminster”

Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar

Wednesdays 5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall

4 May
Ludmilla Jordanova,
‘Career Reflections: Places, People, Periods, Portraits’

History of Christianity Seminar

4 May, 2:15 PM, Lightfoot Room, Cambridge Divinity Faculty

Mr. Jonathan Reimer (Pembroke College)

‘Reconsidering Recantation: The Case of Thomas Bacon’



Early Modern Material Cultures Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research (UCL)

Wednesday May 4, 5.15 pm

Senate House , South block, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

‘The Semiotics of the Body in Medieval Japanese Narratives’

Raj Pandey (Goldsmiths)

This paper suggests that the spirit/ soul/mind/body debates that have been central to Western thought, and that have shaped the core presumptions that have gone into the making of the body as a category, are inadequate for understanding the conception and experience of embodied being in the non-western world. It argues that the mind/body and nature/culture debates have little valence in classical and medieval Japanese texts where both material and mental/emotional processes are seen as central to the constitution of a meaningful body/self. The eleventh century romance narrative The Tale of Genji, for example, suggests an altogether different mode through which the body is imagined and experienced, not as something constituted through flesh, blood, and bones, but rather as an entity that is metonymically linked to robes that are repositories of both the physical and affective attributes of those who wear them.

Venue: Room SH246, 2nd floor, South block, Senate House

There are lots of interesting talks ongoing at the Senate House Library throughout May and June. Anyone interested should check them out here. This week, Professor Gordon McMullan (KCL) will present ‘Shakespeare in 1916: The First World War & the Origins of Global Shakespeare’ on 3 May at 18:30 in the Senate House Library.

Tuesday 3 May, 5.30 pm – History of Libraries research lecture, Warburg Institute

‘Bibliotheca Abscondita’: the Library of Sir Thomas Browne (1604-1682)

Lucy Gwynn, Queen Mary University

Thomas Browne, Norwich physician and one of the great essayists of the seventeenth century, was drawn to the indiscriminate dissolution and ruin brought by the passage of time, as ‘the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy’. His recreation of an impossible wunderkammer – the tract Musaeum clausum et bibliotheca abscondita – catalogued books, objects and artworks that had been lost to time, looting, war, and exile. This paper will compare the narrative of incompleteness and wistful recuperation in Musaeum clausum with my project to reconstruct of the contents of Browne’s own library, now only known to us through the catalogue of its sale in 1711. It will present evidence of Browne’s book ownership and use, and suggest ways in which Browne’s library, its contents, taxonomies and spaces, can be recovered.

Medieval and Tudor London Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research (UCL)

Thursday, 5 May, 5.15pm

Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, North block, Senate House

‘Medieval London almshouses’

Sarah Lennard-Brown (Birkbeck)

‘Meeting the monks: visitors to the London Charterhouse 1405-1537’
David Harrrap (QMUL)


Events This Week

Tuesday 1 March

Renaissance Graduate Seminar, GR06/7, 5.15pm

Hester Lees-Jeffries (Cambridge)

Shakespeare’s Tailors

Wednesday 2 March

CRASSH (Re)Constructing the Material World, 12.30pm AR SG1


Dr Joanne Sear (History,Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge)
Professor Deborah Howard (Architecture & History of Art, University of Cambridge)

Thursday 3 March

Early Modern European History seminar, 1pm, Gonville and Caius Green Room

Irene Cooper (Cambridge)

‘Cose di casa’: The Materiality of Devotion in the Sixteenth-Century Neapolitan Home

Please email ab2126 with any events for advertisement.

Events This Week

Tuesday 23rd February

Renaissance Graduate Seminar, 5.15pm, English Faculty GR06/7

Dr Anna-Maria Hartmann (University of Oxford)

Know your Enemy: Stephen Batman, Edmund Spenser, and the Art of Protestant Discernment


Wednesday 24th February

Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar, 12pm, SG1, English Faculty Board Room
Richard Oosterhoff (CRASSH, Cambridge)

Idiot wit: framing lay knowers in the Northern Renaissance


Early Modern British and Irish History Seminar, 5.15pm, Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall
John Gallagher (Gonville and Caius),
Learning Languages in Early Modern England


Friday 26th February

Early Modern French Research Seminar, New Gallery, Whipple Museum, 2pm

Jennifer Oliver (St. John’s College, Oxford):

Congnoistre l’engin de noz ennemys: Machines and Machinations in Rabelais and Beyond


If you would like to advertise an early modern event here please email ab2126.

Renaissance Graduate Seminar

The third Renaissance Graduate Seminar of the term will take place on Tuesday 23 February, at 5.15pm in GR06/7 in the English Faculty:

Anna-Maria Hartmann (Oxford)

Know your enemy: Stephen Batman, Edmund Spenser, and the Art of Protestant Discernment


The focus of this talk is the first English mythography, Stephen Batman’s Golden Booke of the Leaden Goddes (1577). Like the other English mythographies, this text has been dismissed as an eccentric, yet derivative copy of more successful continental mythographies. I will show that this assumption is false. The Golden Booke of the Leaden Goddes is a creative manipulation of the genre. It appropriates the mythographical form as well as available concepts of myth in order to address religious anxieties rife in the late 1570s. Once this mythography is restored to its original context, it yields important insights. First, it illustrates ways in which myth was conceptualized and used in the wider culture of the English Renaissance; second, it provides us with new approaches to myth in English poetry. I will demonstrate the potential of English mythography as an interpretative tool by discussing analogies between Batman’s use of myth in the Golden Booke and Spenser’s mythological programme in Book 2, Canto 12 of The Faerie Queene (The Bower of Bliss).

Anna-Maria Hartmann is Christopher Tower Junior Research Fellow in Greek Mythology at Christ Church, Oxford. She received her Ph.D. in English in 2012 from Trinity College, Cambridge. Her research focuses on the reception of myth in the English Renaissance, and she has published articles on this topic in journals such as The Seventeenth Century, Translation and Literature, and Renaissance Studies. Currently, she is completing her monograph English Mythography in Its European Context 1500-1650, and her talk at the RGS is part of this project.