Vernacular Health and Healing
2006-2007 Year-Long Colloquium
Mary E. Fissell
Herb-women, viper-gatherers, midwives, mothers, charlatans, and nuns—most of the health care in early modern Europe was provided by healers such as these, rather than by learned physicians. Meeting once a month over the course of the academic year, this colloquium will explore health and healing from the perspectives of patients and practitioners. We focus both on healing practices and on the bodies of knowledge and belief that structured what we are calling vernacular healing—that provided by rank-and-file practitioners, the broader penumbra of other healers, and patients themselves. How did ordinary people make sense of their bodies and of sickness and health? How did their ideas relate to those of their healers? The colloquium will begin, not with concrete definitions of vernacular and learned, but rather with a commitment to understand knowledge and practices as they were made, circulated, and used in a broad range of contexts. As there are strong structural continuities in medical practice over the late medieval and early modern periods, the colloquium especially seeks to bring medievalists and early modern scholars into productive dialogue. Participants will discuss each other’s work in relation to some touchstone readings, building a mosaic of various kinds of health and healing and their functions in various discourses and knowledge communities over the course of the year. Applicants’ works-in-progress must therefore be sufficiently developed to serve as the basis of group discussion.
Director: Mary E. Fissell is a Professor in the History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of Patients, Power, and the Poor in Eighteenth-Century Bristol (1991) and Vernacular Bodies: The Politics of Reproduction in Early Modern England (2004).
Martin Luther and the Sixteenth-Century Universe
2006 Fall Semester Seminar
Martin Luther and the Reformation movement forever linked with his name, have often been understood as crucial factors in the rise of “modernity.” Yet Martin Luther was also in a profound sense a product of the later Middle Ages. He interpreted many of the conflicts and struggles of the era in terms of cosmic warfare between the realms of God and the devil. At critical moments in his career he seems to have expected the imminent second coming of Christ. This seminar will explore some of the many ways in which the message of Martin Luther and the early Reformation intersects with the natural and supernatural world of the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In successive weeks, participants will explore late medieval explanations of misfortune; predictions of the end of time at the eve of the Reformation; the interpretation of portents; the relationship between theological debate and demonology in the Reformation; theories of divine providence; the relationship between Reformation and “disenchantment”; and other themes introduced by participants’ research. Where possible, surviving pamphlets and illustrations from the period and from the Folger’s Stickelberger collection will be consulted to illustrate the themes of the seminar. Original source texts will be supplied in translation for discussion.
Director: Euan Cameron is Henry Luce III Professor of Reformation Church History at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University. His publications include The European Reformation (1991), Waldenses: Rejections of Holy Church in Medieval Europe (2000), and Interpreting Christian History (2005).
The Novel and La Mode: Marketing Novelties (1670-1720)
2006 Fall Semester Seminar
In 1678, the French fashion industry officially came into existence: the first fashion season was proclaimed, and the members of the newly formed (1675) guild of seamstresses invented a revolutionary new garment for women, the manteau. That same year, the work known as the first modern novel in French, La Princesse de Clèves, was published. All year long, both these events were chronicled in the monthly installments of the first periodical to resemble a modern newspaper, Le Mercure Galant. This seminar will explore the ways in which these three institutions—the novel, the fashion industry, and the newspaper—took on their modern incarnations together at the beginning of the long eighteenth century. Newspapers marketed fashion and advertised novels; novels featured the latest fashions; engravings designed to show off each season’s new outfits also promoted the reading of newspapers and novels. Participants will read French and English novels and newspapers and fashion engravings in order to see how novel, newspaper, and fashion shaped each other. Among the subjects that will interest the seminar: how the definition of “news” helped redefine the novel; how new trends in fashion influenced the depiction of characters; how newspapers trained readers to read novels. Later sessions will incorporate participants’ own research on these questions. This seminar will be devoted primarily to French materials, and a reading knowledge of French is assumed. Comparative projects dealing with other national traditions are also welcome, however, as many materials are available in English translations from the period (save for Le Mercure Galant).
Director: Joan DeJean is Trustee Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include the award-winning The Reinvention of Obscenity: Sex, Lies, and Tabloids in Early Modern France (2002), and Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour (2005).
Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "The Founders and the Bard"
16 April 2007
It has become a cliché that America’s Founders “loved Shakespeare.” But what does this mean? And why should brilliant revolutionaries against British monarchy “love” the writer who is now seen by many as an apologist for Tudor and Stuart monarchical government? In this lecture Barbara Mowat will look at John Adams’, Thomas Jefferson’s, and other Founders’ writing about the Bard in the light of these questions, asking also whether or not their relationship to Shakespeare had an impact on our nation’s origins.
Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Executive Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, Chair of the Folger Institute, and Editor (with Paul Werstine) of the New Folger Library Shakespeare. She has served as President of the Shakespeare Association of America, President of the Southeast Renaissance Conference, and Chair of the MLA Committee on the New Variorum Shakespeare, and has for some years been a member of the Advisory Board of the International Shakespeare Conference (Stratford-upon-Avon).
Paleography Refresher Course
Spring 2007 Skills Course
This six-week, skills-course refresher is designed to provide a review of English secretary and italic handwriting. It will also provide participants with an opportunity to explore further the manuscript collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library, including correspondence, literary works, accounts, inventories, miscellanies, commonplace books, wills, and deeds. Applicants should describe their previous training, including introductory level courses or self-directed work in the archives. They should also describe the documents or classes of manuscript materials with which they are currently working and the nature of their research projects. Participants’ own materials, approaches, and bibliographical and editorial challenges will help shape the course, as participants will introduce their materials to others in the course. In addition to the standard award of one night of lodging per session, the application review committee will award an additional two nights' lodging to funded participants who could profitably extend their time with the collections.
Director: Heather Wolfe is Folger Curator of Manuscripts. She has written numerous articles on manuscript studies and has most recently edited The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608: A Facsimile Edition of Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.232 and The Literary Career and Legacy of Elizabeth Cary, 1613-1680 (both forthcoming 2007).
The English Grammar School: Rhetoric, Discipline, Masculinity
2007 Spring Faculty Weekend Seminar
In a decisive shift in theory and method, sixteenth-century humanist schoolmasters replaced Latin training by rule or “precept” with lessons in imitation. In the 1940s and 1950s, critics demonstrated this educational program’s profound impact on England’s literary Renaissance. But in the last twenty years, historians and literary critics have become far more interested in assessing whether grammar schools effectively produced, as masters said they would, “gentlemen” who believed unreservedly in upholding England’s existing social hierarchies. In two days of intensive discussion, the seminar will draw on both critical traditions, focusing on the grammar school’s literary and social effects (whether they were intended or not). Participants will contribute their own perspectives and examples to an investigation of both the tropes and transactions of the school’s forms of discipline and rhetorical training—juxtaposing archival evidence with literary production, and discursive and material practices with rhetorical and subjective effects. Questions will include: how did training in Latin grammar and rhetoric influence early modern experiences of gender, sexuality, and desire? What contemporary theories might enable a reassessment of the relationship between school archive and literary canon? Did early modern pedagogy truly institute a rigid distinction between male and female language, behavior, and feeling? What might choices of genre, trope, and the mixing of vernacular with classical stories reveal about early modern masculinity? Besides actual representations of schoolroom scenes, are there other ways Shakespeare’s texts speak to the unintended consequences of school training? And finally, what impact did grammar school training have on early modern passions, literary or otherwise?
Director: Lynn Enterline is Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of The Tears of Narcissus: Melancholia and Masculinity in Early Modern Writing (1995) and The Rhetoric of the Body from Ovid to Shakespeare (2000). She is currently working on a book on early modern education.
The Mental World of Restoration England
2007 Spring Faculty Weekend Seminar
There is evidently a surge of new interest in the reign of Charles II. Work on Milton and Dryden continues, but Marvell studies have taken a leap forward. Historians have brought the Dutch wars into focus, and it is becoming clear that the history of the press and of Parliament in Restoration England can be studied with access to a wealth of records not available for earlier periods. Court paintings and painters like Lely have begun to attract the kind of attention demanded for the art world of Charles I. John Spurr’s England in the 1670s (2000) began the task of relating all the different aspects of the era: the court, the church, the theater, etc., but there remains a good deal of disciplinary compartmentalization. This seminar calls scholars in these and other areas for a weekend of sharing and comparing their work, in the hope that from this broader contextualization will come a larger understanding of the period. As many as twelve faculty members with relevant works-in-progress will be selected. No papers will be read, but the seminar will consider collectively whether such a thing as a mental world might be conceptualized, and if so, what its contours might be, mindful of the model provided for the reign of James I in a Folger conference and a subsequent volume (edited by Linda Levy Peck, 1991).
Director: Annabel Patterson is Sterling Professor Emeritus of English at Yale University. Her publications include Censorship and Interpretation (1980, 1994), Early Modern Liberalism (1997), and Andrew Marvell: The Prose Works (2003).
A Sense of the Archive
2007 Spring Semester Seminar for Master’s Students
This seminar will introduce Master’s-level students to the Folger collections through an exploration of the early modern sensory world. Students will plumb the Library’s materials in an attempt to reconstruct how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century men and women heard, smelled, tasted, saw, and experienced touch. How, for example, did people perceive cold? Or experience the introduction of tobacco? How did the early modern experience and perception of the environment differ from our own? To what extent can archival work even answer these questions? While the seminar will be guided by readings in current scholarship, the primary aim is for students to encounter a broad sampling of genres, such as cookbooks, travel narratives, chorographies, natural histories, urban surveys, theater documents, and demonological tracts. The seminar will introduce students to tools for archival research and will encourage the development of individual research interests.
Director: Kristen Poole is Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Radical Religion from Shakespeare to Milton: Figures of Nonconformity in Early Modern England (2000) and numerous articles on early modern literature.
Shakespeare in American Education, 1607-1934
2007 Spring Conference
16 – 17 March 2007
Under what conditions did Shakespeare’s plays become an integral component of America’s cultural literacy, its moral education, its civic formation? At what levels of instruction, for what socio-economic classes and ethnic groups, and playing what roles in American political, military, or social histories? What exemplary “Shakespeares” have American classrooms created, for what purposes, and at what cross-purposes? With what kinds of records may scholars tell what kinds of histories of the teaching of Shakespeare?
This conference addresses resonant episodes in the teaching of Shakespeare in America. It brings scholars of English and American cultures and literatures into productive conversation with historians of rhetoric and education. Fresh case studies are drawn from the earliest relevant archival discoveries through the first third of the twentieth century. Among other topics, individual papers investigate shifting emphases in the Shakespearean canon, the impact of college entrance requirements on classroom instruction, and (what was deemed to be) historically accurate staging for productions at the Chicago World’s Fair, with the subsequent distribution of abbreviated school texts. A roundtable discussion with the commentators will probe the place of this new work in our intellectual heritage and discursive traditions. The conference has been designated as a "We the People" project by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Barnes & Noble Booksellers, W.W. Norton & Company, and Simon & Schuster, Inc. are corporate sponsors. Further information about funding options for conference participants is forthcoming.
Organizers: Theodore Leinwand (University of Maryland), Kathleen Lynch (Folger Institute), and Barbara Mowat (Folger Institute). Speakers: Denise Albanese (George Mason University), Jonathan Burton (West Virginia University), Sandra Gustafson (University of Notre Dame), Dayton Haskin (Professor of English, Boston College), Nan Johnson (The Ohio State University), Coppélia Kahn (Brown University), Rosemary Kegl (University of Rochester), Marvin McAllister (Howard University), Jennifer Mylander (Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Heather S. Nathans (University of Maryland), Peggy O’Brien (Corporation for Public Broadcasting), and Elizabeth Renker (The Ohio State University). Commentators: Arthur Applebee (University at Albany, SUNY), Michael Bristol (McGill University), John Guillory (New York University), and Michael Warner (Rutgers University).
Staging Political Thought
2007 Late-Spring Seminar
This seminar is sponsored by the Center for the History of British Political Thought to bring together scholars of literature and intellectual history to examine plays from the Shakespearean corpus in the context of the issues in political thought that were being addressed in England from the late-sixteenth to early-seventeenth centuries. As the history of political thought has characteristically been concerned with the formation and interplay of doctrines, the seminar will give attention to the rather different functions that political vocabularies, languages, and propositions can have when transformed on the stage as topoi, plot mechanisms, role-markers, and allusions, as well as issues put before an audience for debate. The seminar will also attend to the difficulties of extrapolating doctrines and ideological commitments from dramatic evidence. Each week will concentrate on a contemporary political theme and its manifestations in a small number of plays: counsel and rule; tyranny and misrule; casuistry and principled conduct; citizenship and patriotism. Some attention will also be given to the often conspicuous absence of the burning issues of confessional hostility and to the diminishing importance of oath-taking and breaking in Shakespeare’s plays. The plays discussed will cover the range of Shakespeare’s work: Henry V, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, The Tempest, Richard III, and King Lear. Visiting faculty will include Jean Howard (Columbia University) and Peter Lake (Princeton University).
Director: Conal Condren is Scientia Professor Emeritus in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of New South Wales. His publications include The Language of Politics in Seventeenth-Century England (1994) and Satire, Lies, and Politics: The Case of Dr. Arbuthnot (1997). His Argument and Authority in Early Modern England is forthcoming.
The Spanish Connection
2007 Late-Spring Seminar
This seminar will examine the place of Spain in early modern English culture. The premise of the seminar is that to make sense of England’s strategies of self-definition and self-representation in the sixteenth and early-seventeenth century we must, paradoxically, turn to Spain. For despite the differences created by the Reformation, English incursions in the New World, and the conflicts in Ireland and the Netherlands, England remained, both culturally and politically, in Spain’s debt. In a period that begins with the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon, and that briefly rehearses the dynastic allegiance at mid-century, when Mary Tudor marries Philip II (and, again, as farce, with the attempted “Spanish marriage” of Charles I), the two nations remained closely linked by literary and imperial preoccupations and by England’s insistent imitation of Spain’s primacy. Topics will include the role of Spain as imperial and cultural model, the production and dissemination of the Black Legend, and the creation of an English literary canon from Spanish materials. The goal will be to move beyond the Armada moment, with its emphasis on conflict, to the multiple and productive connections that characterize the period, particularly in terms of English literary nationalism. Readings will range from pamphlets and travel narratives to translations of Spanish originals to Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and such other materials as will be relevant to participants’ research.
Director: Barbara Fuchs is Professor of Romance Languages and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Mimesis and Empire: The New World, Islam, and European Identities (2001), Passing for Spain: Cervantes and the Fictions of Identity (2003), and Romance (2004).