Love and Death in the Renaissance
Leeds University, 15 May 2010
Keynote Speaker, Elaine Hobby, Loughborough University
In this one day seminar event we plan to consider the peculiar pairings of love and death that so often animate the Renaissance mind. Medical opinion, theology, historical memoirs, and drama are among the many kinds of discourse where love and death are thought to come into contact with one another as a matter of necessity. How did this happen? What was the origin of the mating of love and death? What was its purpose? What were its consequences? Long before Freud and the contest between Eros and Thanatos there was, of course, the story of Romeo and Juliet and all its analogues. There was the commonplace that passion could kill, or that, as Shakespeare once put it, ‘desire is death’, and there was another that said that death was to be desired. ‘After so foul a journey,’ George Herbert wrote about life and its passions, ‘death is fair’. Death was the ultimate beloved.
‘The Idea of Pleasure’
23 February 2008
Following up on our seminar on ‘Everyday Life’, we seek papers discussing how pleasure, and the idea of pleasure, contributed to the organisation and representation of the material world in early modern Europe. What beliefs were held about ‘pleasure’? What relationships between religion and pleasure are developed (e.g. by Erasmus, More, and Rabelais) and beyond? How was pleasure signified in during the period? What rewards and punishments, or delights and dangers, were associated with it? Was pleasure understood as a single phenomenon, experienced across a spectrum of private and public arenas of life, or were there different kinds of pleasures associated with different kinds of experience? How was pleasure related to penitence, or pain? How was it related to class, gender, and ethnicity?
The Country and the City
8 November 2008
The latest in the series of the Northern Renaissance Seminar was held at the School of Arts & Social Sciences, Northumbria University in Newcastle on 8th November 2008. The theme for this session was ‘The Country and the City’. This one-day conference was a collaboration between Lancaster University and Northumbria University. Speakers included Liz Oakley-Brown (Lancaster University), Jonathan Hope (Strathcylde University) and Alexander Cowan (Northumbria University).
10 November 2007
The importance of the everyday for understanding early modern culture and society took its main impetus from the Annales school of historiography in the 1960s and 70s, and it has long since become a main theme of new historicist and related schools of early modern cultural studies since the 1980s. In fact, the everyday has become so common a concern of Renaissance studies that we may well be taking it for granted. What is ‘the everyday’ in the context of early modern Europe? What is its relation to the exceptional event, the ritual moment, the conduct of political life, or the production of literature and art? How was the everyday vertically and horizontally integrated, or non-integrated, in view of regional affiliations and class and status divisions? How did artists and writers represent it – or for that matter, fail to represent it?