Tag Archives: Early Modern

Reading Group: Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution (I)

Tuesday 6 October, 12:30-2 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

The first CMEMLL Reading Group and the first meeting of the Institute of Legal And Constitutional Research will take place next Tuesday lunchtime (6th October). We’ll meet in the Old Seminar Room on the first floor of 71 South Street at 12.30pm for a sandwich lunch, with the Reading Group on ‘Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution (I)’ starting soon after 1pm and finishing in time for people to teach at 2pm.

The Reading Group will involve an introduction by John Hudson and Lorna Hutson followed by discussion on the theme of ‘Literature, Law and Constitution’.

The background reading is Chapter 1 of Christopher Warren, Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (Oxford: OUP, 2015), available at:


We look forward to seeing you there.


Reading Group: Early Career and Postgraduate Research

Cory Hitt, Julianne Mentzer, Sarah White

Tuesday 27 January, 2015, 1-2 pm
Garden Seminar Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English 

Cory Hitt, Julianne Mentzer, and Sarah White will each give a 5-minute presentation on their current research, which will be followed by questions and group discussion.

Cory Hitt graduated with a degree in English from the College of William & Mary in 2011. After working for two years in the aerospace and defines industry as a lobbying assistant, she came to the University of St Andrews on a Marie Curie fellowship with PIMIC (Power & Institutions in Medieval Islam & Christendom), an EU-funded International Training Network. She is in the second year of her PhD, currently working on developing models of transmission of honour codes and legal expertise within the context of Icelandic and Anglo-Norman literature under the supervision of John Hudson.

Julianne Mentzer received her BA (Hons) in English and Philosophy, and an MA (Hons) in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University.  She then relocated to Scotland, and completed her MLitt in Renaissance Studies from the University of Strathclyde.  She is now a Ph.D. candidate in the School of English, supervised by Lorna Hutson, and her thesis will explore the rhetoric of friendship and the role of flattery in early modern homosocial relationships.

Sarah White received her BA (Hons) in Medieval Studies from the University of Victoria, and her MA (Hons) in the same field from the University of Toronto.  She is now a Ph.D. candidate in Medieval History, supervised by John Hudson.  She is interested in legal arguments and equity in Church courts in England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and her thesis is provisionally entitled ‘Process and Procedure in the thirteenth-century Court of Canterbury’.


Research Lecture: Professor Bradin Cormack (Princeton University)

‘In the Time of Example: Case Thinking in Shakespearean Drama’

Thursday 15 May, 2014, 3.15 pm
Garden Seminar Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English

Bradin Cormack, Professor of English at Princeton University and Corresponding Professor of CMEMLL, will give a paper entitled ‘In the time of example: case thinking in Shakespearean Drama.’

As Professor Cormack explains:

‘This paper places Shakespeare’s comedies, in particular The Comedy of Errors and The Merchant of Venice, in the double context of case-jurisprudence in the sixteenth-century common law and of exemplarity in sixteenth-century historiographical writing. It suggests that Shakespeare’s comedies are marked microtextually and structurally by the consideration not only of the rhetorical impact of examples but, more basically, of what, logically, the example is such that it might constitute knowledge. I will be considering in particular the question of how examples or cases relate to time, and, in addition to Shakespeare, I will consider some passages in Sidney’s Defense, which is of course notorious for the case it makes for the case.

My talk, which will focus on Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors with some attention to Sidney, will be self-explanatory. If you would like to read something in advance, I suggest Agamben’s essay “What is a Paradigm,” which informs some of the ways in which I am thinking about example.’

Professor Cormack is author of A Power to Do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature, and the Rise of Common Law, 1509-1625 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007) and of Book Use, Book Theory, co-authored with Carla Mazzio (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Library, 2005).

He is co-editor, with Leonard Barkan and Sean Keilen, of The Forms of Renaissance Thought: New Essays on Literature and Culture (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and, with Richard Strier and Martha Nussbaum, of Shakespeare and the Law: A Conversation among the Disciplines and Professions (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2013).

He has published on issues of sovereignty in Shakespeare Quarterly, and he is currently working on two books, a philosophical study of Shakespeare’s sonnets and a short monograph on Shakespeare and Law.


Reading Group: A 16th Century Lawyer and his 15th Century Books

Thursday 14 November, 2013, 1-2 pm
Stephen Boyd Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English

Dr Margaret Connolly, Senior Lecturer in the School of English, will lead a reading group entitled ‘A 16th Century Lawyer and his 15th Century Books’.  This topic draws from her current research on a 16th Century gentry family which is provisionally entitled: Newly Reformed Readers and their Reading: A Sixteenth-Century Family and their Medieval Books, taking one member of the family, Thomas Roberts, who was a London lawyer as the focus of the session.

The texts for discussion are:

  1. A summary of how the material relating to Thomas Roberts is like/is not like that relating to other contemporary lawyers, and which lists the contents of surviving books that may be associated with him.
  2. An article by C. E. Moreton, ‘The “Library of a Late Fifteenth-Century Lawyer’, The Library 6th Series, 13.4 (1991), 338-46. This is an example of the type of study that’s been made of late medieval/early modern lawyers and their books, so that people have some frame of reference for her work.

Dr Connolly’s research concerns later medieval English literature and its manuscript context, and she has a strong interest in book history. Of her previous publications, the most relevant in this context to mention is an essay, ‘Sixteenth-Century Readers Reading Fifteenth-Century Religious Books: The Roberts Family of Middlesex’ that has recently appeared in a volume edited by Nicole Rice, Middle English Religious Writing in Practice: Texts, Readers, and Transformations (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013).