Tag Archives: Early Modern England

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/ILCR Round Table: Law and Drama in Early Modern England

Capture1-4 pm, 5 May, 2016 
Kennedy Hall, School of English, The Scores 

Round Table Speakers

Quentin Skinner, Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities, Queen Mary, University of London, author of Forensic Shakespeare (2014)
Andrew Zurcher, Queens College, Cambridge, author of Shakespeare and Law (2010)
Lorna Hutson, St Andrews, author of The Invention of Suspicion (2007) and Circumstantial Shakespeare (2015)

Schedule

1 pm – catered lunch in the Stephen Boyd Room
2-4 pm – Round Table Discussion in the Lawson Room 

Preparatory Reading

All Welcome

 

CFP: ‘Dare to tell’: Silence and Saying in Ben Jonson’

CMEMLL Conference

Friday 1 – Sunday 3 April
Kennedy Hall, School of English, University of St Andrews

A conference in the 400th anniversary year of the publication of Jonson’s 1616 first Folio of Works.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Professor Martin Butler (University of Leeds)
Professor Julie Sanders (University of Newcastle)

World premiere of Ben and Jamie by Brean Hammond

‘Our looks are called into question, and our words,
How innocent soever, are made crimes;
We shall not shortly dare to tell our dreams,
Or think, but ’twill be treason’ (Sejanus (1603), 1.1.67-70)

What does it mean to be called into question, to speak out or to stay silent, to have innocent thoughts, guilty looks, or culpable dreams? Jonson’s plays, comic and tragic, foreground the processes of imaginative interpretation that condition people’s actions, values and their very being.

On this prominent anniversary of Jonson’s publication of his 1616 first Folio of Works, this conference will explore themes of publication and performance broadly conceived to include the following themes:

  • Authority, collective imagination, individual autonomy, and conscience – including as these issues relate to legal authority and questions of freedom of speech and thought, conscience and religion in 2016.
  • Self-consciousness, acting, performance, reception, re-imaginings of the canon.
  • Interpretation, defamation, equivocation, censorship, satire, criminality and innocence.
  • Cultural ideologies, political subversion, social transgressions.

Please send your abstract of 300 words, along with a brief biography that includes your title and institutional affiliation, to jonson.conference@gmail.com no later than 26 February 2016.

The conference will also include:

  • Professor Brean Hammond’s new play about Jonson’s walk to Scotland, Ben and Jamie, at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews.
  • Special Collections viewing of Jonson’s 1616 Folio and related rare books.
  • Performance of a Jonson play and a workshop on Jonson and drama (details t.b.c.).

General questions can be directed to the conference organisers Julianne Mentzer, Peter Sutton and Zoë Sutherland at jonson.conference@gmail.com.

Conference website: https://jonson16.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @jonson_16, #jonson16

 
 

Conference: The English Legal Imaginary, Part II

The English Legal Imaginary, 1500-1700, Parts I and II

Part I: Princeton University, 17-18 April, 2015

Part II: University of St Andrews, 1-2 May, 2015

 The English Legal Imaginary Part I The English Legal Imaginary, Part II

CMEMLL is delighted to announce The English Legal Imaginary, Part II, taking place in the School of English on 1-2 May, 2015. The English Legal Imaginary, Part II is an interdisciplinary conference involving leading scholars working at the intersections of law, politics, literature and history in early modern England. The conference papers will contribute to the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500-1700. Topics include: Roman law and common law, law and drama; law and education; equity, legal reform and literary censorship.

Speakers include: Martin Butler, Bradin Cormack, Alan Cromartie, Steve Hindle; Rab Houston, Lorna Hutson, David Ibbetson, James McBain, Subha Mukherji, Joad Raymond, Carolyn Sale, James Sharpe, Erica Sheen, Quentin Skinner, Virginia Lee Strain, Elliott Visconsi, Ian Williams, Jessica Winston, and Andrew Zurcher.

The registration fees for this conference are: £30 for students and unwaged, and £40 for waged participants. This fee covers lunch and coffee/tea breaks on both days, in addition to the conference dinner on Friday 1, and the closing wine and cheese reception on Saturday 2 May.

Places are limited, so early registration is important. Only those who are registered will be admitted to the conference; there are no drop-in sessions. 

Please register using the following link: The English Legal Imaginary, Part II

Conference Programme:

 Conference Programme 1Conference Programme 2 Conference Programme 3