solid-cropCEMS conference: Poetics and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

T. S. Eliot Theatre, Merton College.

Thursday 23 May, 10-6pm.

In the early modern period, poetry was central to every aspect of learned culture: it was the object of study of lawyers, medics, scientists, and theologians, not just literary critics. How did those disciplines understand poetry? To what kinds of unique knowledge did they believe poetry could grant access? And what role can poetry play for specialists in the history of those fields today? This conference should appeal to graduate students and scholars working across the disciplines of early modern studies, who are keen to contribute to a vital debate about the ways in which poetry can be studied within an interdisciplinary context.

Our conference will bring together an international group of leading literary critics, scholars of modern languages, orientalists, and historians to explore these questions in many different languages and social and national contexts, drawing on a huge range of published and unpublished sources. The conference and its themes will be introduced by David Norbrook, Merton Professor of English Literature and director of Oxford’s Centre for Early Modern Studies. Speakers will include: Colin Burrow (All Souls College, Oxford) on imitation; Luc Deitz (National Library of Luxembourg), editor of the Poetics of Julius-Caesar Scaliger, will speak on the place of poetics within learned disciplines; Perrine Galand-Hallyn (École Normale Supérieure), co-editor of the most comprehensive account of European poetics, Poétiques de la Renaissance (Droz, 2001), on the connections between poetry and the law; Ralph Häfner (University of Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg), author of Götter im Exil (2003), on the ways Johann Albert Fabricius used poetry to reconstruct the early history of the universe; Kristine Haugen (California Institute of Technology), author of Richard Bentley: Poetry and Enlightenment (2011) on seventeenth-century poetry and music; and Jan Loop (Warburg Institute/University of Kent), leading expert on Europe’s encounters with the Arabic world and director of the Centre for the History of Arabic Studies, on the rise of aesthetic appreciation of Arabic poetry in Europe; Nigel Smith (Princeton University) on his new comparative study of the relationship between the rise of vernacular literature and state formation in early modern Europe. Terence Cave (St John’s College, Oxford) will draw together the themes of the day by chairing a round-table discussion. The whole day will allow generous amounts of time for detailed questions and debate for each paper.

Organized by the Centre for Early Modern Studies and Merton College History of the Book Group. With thanks for the generous support of the OUP John Fell Oxford University Research Fund and Oxford’s English Faculty.

Full: £35 / Grad: £20

Registration (by 16 May)  here.  For more details contact: