Category Archives: Research Seminars

CMEMLL Research Seminar: Hannah Worthen (Leicester/The National Archives)

Wednesday 30 November, 12.00 – 13.30 pm
GR03, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge

‘‘For the hazards of War are equall’: The Narratives of Royalist Widows in Print, Petitions and at Law during the Civil Wars’

Abstract

The infamous 1649 publication, Eikon Basilike, professed to be authored by Charles I, asked ‘what Widdowes or Orphans tears can witnesse against me, the just cry of which must now be avenged with My own bloud? For the hazards of War are equall, nor doth the Cannon know any respect of Persons’. The Civil Wars of 1642-1649 were brutal, and there had been a clamour to avenge the blood of the fallen with the execution of the King who was deemed by many to be responsible. Depictions of widows became part of the political discourse surrounding the wars: the desolate and suffering widows who epitomised the losses of England as well as the deviant widows who stepped beyond customary boundaries during those turbulent times.

During the Civil Wars and Interregnum Parliament seized the lands of Royalists in order to fund their war effort. Consequently, many widows who had been deemed to be ‘delinquent’ turned to petitions and the legal process in order to protect their family’s landed interests. These women had lost husbands and sons to the war but were not viewed as blameless victims by the Parliamentarian authorities. This paper will examine the petitions and legal challenges submitted by these Royalist widows and look to the ways in which they described their suffering and, therefore, drew upon wider narratives of the losses of widows during this period.

The discussion will examine the intersection between legal texts, petitions and print discourse in order to analyse the experience of Royalist widows who sought to defend their lands. By drawing upon narratives of loss, poverty and the universal suffering of war time, many of these widows were able to successfully navigate political and legal processes and regain the property and status that the wars had cost them.

Organised jointly with the Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar.


Hannah Worthen is a final-year PhD student researching at The University of Leicester in collaboration with The National Archives.

CMEMLL Research Seminar: Jackie Watson (Oxford Spires Academy/Birkbeck)

Tuesday 15 November, 5.45 – 7.00 pm
Gatsby Room, Chancellor’s Centre, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge

‘[T]hough Ramme stinks with cookes and ale,/ Yet say thers many a worthy lawyers chamber,/ Buts vpon Rame-Alley’: An Innsman Goes to the Playhouse’

Abstract

Combining ideas of early modern sense perception with research on the Inns of Court, London topography and theatre history, this paper is an experimental journey to a performance of Lording Barry’s ‘Ram Alley’ at nearby Whitefriars. It considers the sensory interactions between audience and dramatic locations: playing space, imaginative locus and surrounding city.

This paper brings the two areas of research together, and builds on Jackie Watson’s recent article on the nearby Ram Alley for the Map of Early Modern London. It imagines a day in 1607, or perhaps 1608. An Innsman – call him Francis, for sake of argument – leaves his lodgings in Middle Temple to visit the nearby Whitefriars Theatre, where Lording Barry’s Ram Alley is being performed by the Children of the King’s Revels. Using ideas from performance and theatre history, London topography and audience studies, as well as work on the Inns as sites of social mobility, legal and wider learning, and homosocial networks, my paper will reconstruct likely elements of Francis’ journey and his experience of this particular play.

In the quotation from the Induction to Every Man Out of his Humour which forms the title of this paper, Ben Jonson’s language plays with the conjunction of hearing, tasting and understanding. Barry may not have had such lofty ambitions for his comedy, but in its intertextuality, its precise location and its evocation of the early modern legal world, it aims directly to play with the familiarities and to engage the senses of ‘Francis’ and his fellows.

Organised jointly with the Wolfson College Humanities Society.


Jackie Watson completed her PhD at Birkbeck College, London, in 2015, with a thesis looking at the life of the Jacobean courtier, Sir Thomas Overbury, and examining the representations of courtiership on stage between 1599 and 1613. She is co-editor of The Senses in Early Modern England, 1558–1660 (Manchester University Press, 2015), to which she contributed a chapter on the deceptive nature of sight.

Recent published articles have looked at the early modern Inns of Court, at Innsmen as segments of playhouse audiences and at London topography.  She is currently working on a monograph with a focus on Overbury’s letters, courtiership and the Jacobean playhouse.

CMEMLL Postgraduate and Early Career Masterclass: Todd Butler (Washington State)

Tuesday 28 March, 4.00 pm
Lawson Lecture Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English

All welcome.

Todd Butler will lead a masterclass for postgraduate students and early career researchers on the following material.

Reading

Anon – A True Report of the Araignment, Tryall, Conviction, and Demnation of a Popish Priest (1607).

Todd Butler, ‘Equivocation, Cognition, and Political Authority in Early Modern England’ (2012).

 

After the session, we will be joining Todd for dinner at Zizzi’s. All parties who wish to attend should RSVP to Toria Johnson (taj3@st-andrews.ac.uk) and attend at their own expense.


Todd Butler is Associate Professor and Chair at the Faculty of English, Washington State University.

His main area of publication and research involves early modern literature, religion, and political theory, but he maintains an active interest in early modern crime and law, and how classical rhetoric in particular can help us understand—if not challenge—processes of judicial decision-making. His publications include Imagination and Politics in Seventeenth Century England (Ashgate, 2008) and ‘Swearing Justice in Henry Goodcole and the Witch of Edmonton‘ (Studies in English Literature 50:1, 2010).

 

CMEMLL Annual Report 2014/15

CMEMLL Annual Report 2015/16

We are pleased to share a report of CMEMLL’s activities for the academic year 2014/15 here.

As you can see, we were rather busy last year with three conferences, a regular programme of reading groups and research events, and the inauguration of the new Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research.

We are half-way through our programme for 2015/16 with a great deal to look forward to in second semester.

See the programme of events and the Annual Report for further details.

 

Research Seminar: Dr Sara Menzinger (Università degli Studi Roma Tre)

‘Dante, the Bible and the Law: On the Trail of Uzzah in Mediaeval Legal-Theological Thought’

Monday 28 September, 5 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

For a joint event between the Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature (CMEMLL) and the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS), Sara Menzinger, Substitute Professor of Legal History at Roma Tre, will lead a seminar titled ‘Dante, the Bible and the Law: On the Trail of Uzzah in Medieval Legal-Theological Thought.’


Sara Menzinger specialises in Mediaeval Legal History and she has published widely on the topic of Italian city states [e.g. Giuristi e politica nei comuni di Popolo. Siena, Perugia e Bologna, tre governi a confronto. Ius nostrum. Studi e testi pubblicati dall’Istituto di Storia del Diritto italiano, Università degli Studi di Roma, “La Sapienza”, 34 (Roma, 2006), and La Summa Trium Librorum di Rolando da Lucca (1195-1234). And with Professor Emanuele Conte, Fisco, politica, scientia iuris (Roma, 2012).She has conducted research in many Italian and international universities and research centres, among which the Istituto Italiano di Studi Storici (Naples), the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt) and the Deutsches Historisches Institute (Rome).