Michaelmas 2017

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The 2017 Clarendon Lecutres will be given by Professor Victoria Kahn, Katharine Bixby Hotchkis Chair in English at the University of California, Berkeley. Titled ‘The Trouble with Literature’, the series will examine poiesis and ‘literature’ from the early modern period (Milton, Hobbes) through to J. M. Coetzee. Professor Kahn’s work has been characterized by a desire to understand how Renaissance rhetoric and poetics have shaped the forms of modern liberal democracy. She has written on Machiavellian rhetoric, on the link between contract and romance, and on poetics and political theology. Her books, which are read by literary critics, political theorists and historians, include Rhetoric, Prudence and Skepticism (Cornell, 1985); Machiavellian Rhetoric from the Counter-Reformation to Milton (Princeton, 1994); Wayward Contracts (Chicago, 2004) and The Future of Illusion (Chicago, 2014).



Weeks 2 and 3

Tuesday, 17 October 2017: Literature and Literariness

Thursday, 19 October 2017: Hobbes and Maker's Knowledge

Tuesday, 24 October 2017: Milton and the Problem of Belief

Thursday, 26 October 2017: Literariness in Kant, Kierkegaard and Coetzee

Thursdays at 5pm in The Breakfast Room, Merton College (tea from 4.45).

Suggested preparatory reading follows the titles.

Convenors: Ian Archer, Alexandra Gajda, Steven Gunn and Lucy Wooding


Week 1 (12th October)

Dr Jonathan Healey (OUDCE) ‘The Curious Case of the Cross-Dressing Catholic: Revelry and Resistance in Jacobean Lancashire’

Peter Burke, Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe (1978), Ch. 7; Natalie Zemon Davis, ‘The Rites of Violence: Religious Riot in Sixteenth Century France’, Past and Present, 59 (1973); Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/Pieter_Bruegel_d._%C...

Week 2 (19th October)

Charles Cornish-Dale (Lincoln College) ‘Archbishop Laud and the Corporation of Wimborne Minster, 1636-1639’

J. Willis, Church Music and Protestantism in Post-Reformation England: Discourses, Sites and Identities (2010), chs. 2, 3 and 4; I. Atherton, ‘Cathedrals, Laudianism, and the British Churches’, Historical Journal, 53:4 (2010), 895-918.

Week 3 (26th October)

Prof. Ann Hughes (Keele Univ.) ‘The Scribal Legacies of Katherine Gell 1645-1730’

Mark Goldie, Roger Morrice and the Puritan Whigs (The Entring Book of Roger Morrice vol 1) (2007) ch. 4; Kate Narveson, Bible Readers and Lay Writers in Early Modern England (2012), ch. 5; Gillian Wright, ‘Delight in Good Books: Family, Devotional Practice and Textual Circulation in Sarah Savage’s Diaries’, Book History 18 (2015) 48-74.

Week 4 (2 November)

Dr Angela McShane (Wellcome Collection) ‘“Holy Harmony”: Puritans and Popular Song in seventeenth-century England’

Christopher Durston and Jaqueline Eales, ‘Introduction: The Puritan Ethos, 1560-1700’, and Patrick Collinson, ‘Elizabethan and Jacobean Puritanism as Forms of Popular Religious Culture’, in Durston and Eales eds., The Culture of English Puritanism, 1560-1700 (1996), 1-31, 32-57; Tessa Watt, Cheap Print and Popular Piety, 1550-1640 (1993), esp. Ch. 2.

Week 5 (9 November)

Prof. Andy Wood (Durham Univ.) ‘Work and Social Relations in England, 1500-1640’

M. Bennett, ‘Misogyny, popular culture and women’s work’, History Workshop, 31 (1991); M. Hailwood, ‘Sociability, work and labouring identity in seventeenth-century England’, Cultural and Social History, 8, 1 (2011), 9-29; K. Thomas, ‘Work and leisure in pre-industrial society’, Past and Present, 29 (1964).

Week 6 (16 November)

Prof. Nandini Das (Univ. of Liverpool) ‘Sir Thomas Roe: Memory, Transculturality, and the Incorporated Self’

Henry Turner, ‘Introduction’, The Corporate Commonwealth  (2016); Nandini Das, ‘“Apes of Imitation”: Imitation and Identity in Sir Thomas Roe’s Embassy to India’, in Jyotsna Singh, ed., A Companion to the Global Renaissance: English Literature and Culture in the Era of Expansion (2009), 114-128.

Week 7 (23 November)

Dr Charmian Mansell (Univ. of Exeter and TORCH) ‘Space, Place, and Experiences of Service: evidence from the church court depositions of early modern England’

Amanda Flather, Gender and Space in Early Modern England (2007), esp. cc. 2, 3, 4; Tim Meldrum, Domestic Service and Gender 1660-1750: Life and Work in the London Household (2000), esp. c. 4; Ann Kussmaul, Servants in Husbandry in Early Modern England (1981), cc. 1, 4.

Week 8 (30 November)

Dr Steven Reid (Univ. of Glasgow) ‘The False Scots Urchin and his Dearest Sister: James, Elizabeth and Factional Politics in Scotland, 1583-1584’

Julian Goodare and Michael Lynch, ‘James VI: Universal King?’, in eidem, eds, The Reign of James VI (2000), 1-31; Steven J. Reid, ‘Of Bairns and Bearded Men: James VI and the Ruthven Raid’, in Miles Kerr-Peterson and Steven J. Reid, eds, James VI and Noble Power in Scotland, c. 1578-1603 (Routledge, 2017), 32-56.


Tuesdays: weeks 1, 3, 5 and 7

Mure Room, Merton College, 5.15pm (except week 3)

(N.B. The Mure Room is 5-10 minutes’ walk from the porter’s lodge in Merton St, at the far East of the college via the Fellows’ garden. Please see the map on this page)

Convenors: Professor Lorna Hutson and Professor Emma Smith


Week 1 (10 October)

Laurie Maguire (Magdalen, Oxford)

‘“This page left intentionally blank”: ludic space in early modern texts’ 


Week 3 (24 October)

Victoria Kahn (Berkeley)

‘Milton and the problem of belief’

NB: Clarendon Lecture: Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty, 5.30pm  


Week 5 (7 November)

Stephen Guy-Bray (University of British Columbia)

‘Becoming Art: the queerness of representation in the Renaissance’


Week 7 (21 November)

Hester Lees-Jeffries (St Catharine’s, Cambridge)

‘Inky Cloaks: Black cloth and black pages, performance and paratext’



uesdays: weeks 4, 6, and 8 at 5.15pm

History of the Book Room, St Cross Building

Convenors: Laura Wright and Beatrice Montedoro

1st Week (Wednesday, 11th October)
Social outing - Coriolanus Broadcast Live from the RSC. Meeting at 6.45pm, Odeon Magdalen St.

4th Week (Tuesday, 31st October)
Olivia Anderson, “Concord Through Discord: Conversion in Richard Baxter's Poetical Fragments.”
Audrey Borowski, “The Horizon of the Human Doctrine to The Restitution (Apokatastasis): Leibniz between finite Combinatorics and infinite Metaphysics.”

6th Week (Tuesday, 14th November)
A discussion of the B-Course and some sample papers: highly recommended for MSt students.
Fraser Buchanan, “'Contrived’ authorship? John Prideaux and the Role of the Early Modern Literary Executor.”
Rachael Hodge, “Frances Wolfreston Her Almanacs: A Seventeenth-Century Reader Re-read."

8th Week (Tuesday 28th November)
Aleida Auld, “Donne’s Satires and the Rise of Metaphysical Poetry.”
Arianna Hijazin, “‘What needs this iterance?': repetition and the figure of Echo in Shakespeare.”

Thursdays 5 –7 p.m, weeks 2, 4, 6, 8

All Souls, Wharton Room

All are welcome.


Week 2, October 19th,  Philippe Canguilhem, University of Toulouse: 

 "Usuall Musicke". Singing upon the book in the Renaissance

Abstract: My lecture considers the performative dimension of counterpoint as it was practiced within the choirs and chapels of many European churches in the 15th and 16th centuries. After discussing its status in the current literature, I would like to embark on a three-stage inquiry : firstly, I will give a quick overview of the non-musical documents that inform us about the circumstances of the teaching and performance of the chant sur le livre. I will turn in a second time towards the theoretical literature : how was it taught, according to which techniques ? Finally, I will briefly investigate a written out repertoire that has been mostly neglected so far : we have preserved a number of pieces that aim to imitate the sound and texture of contrapuntal improvisations, and studying this material allows us to get a more precise idea of how the contrappunto alla mente, as it was called in Italy, actually looked like when properly done.

Week 4, November 2nd,  Adam Whittaker, Birmingham City University:  

Models of exemplarity: towards an understanding of Tinctoris’s musical examples   

Abstract: The notational treatises of Johannes Tinctoris (c. 1435–1511) are among the most studied music theory texts of their age. The level of meticulous detail and apparent rigour, twinned with a fairly comprehensive survey of most aspects of practical music that the fifteenth-century musician would need to know, make his treatises invaluable to understanding musical practices and pedagogy of the later part of the Middle Ages. Despite much scholarly attention being directed towards his texts, particularly his De arte contrapuncti and Proportionale musices, his use of musical examples has remained largely underexplored. Indeed, the broader field of musical examples in medieval and Renaissance music theory treatises has been somewhat neglected, both in modern scholarship and in critical editions.

                This paper examines some key musical examples from across Tinctoris’s notational treatises, considering the ways in which such material supports and articulates his theoretical argument. It also considers what exemplary content might reveal about the probable readerships for music theory treatises, and the reading practices associated with late fifteenth-century mensural notation. The breadth of Tinctoris’s subject coverage makes his texts an ideal case study for an investigation of this type, exploring the function and composition of musical examples for a range of theoretical purposes. Such an examination reveals Tinctoris to be a skilled composer of pedagogical miniatures of all shapes, sizes, and functions, offering a valuable insight into the pedagogical logics that underpin the construction of Tinctoris’s theoretical texts, and the factors that may have influenced the composition of the texts themselves.

Week 6 , November 16th, Joseph Mason,  University of Oxford: 

Sweetly divided': Analytical propositions and problems for the thirteenth-century jeu-parti

Abstract: In thirteenth-century French debate songs, known as jeux-partis, poets frequently dwell on the divided nature of their songs. The poetry of a jeu-parti is divided by a dilemma question, which is debated by two trouvères. Division can also be seen in the tonal structure of jeu-parti melodies. This paper presents the findings of a systematic survey of normative melodic practice in the jeu-parti. Drawing on Hepokoski and Darcy's influential concept of norms and deformations (2006) and debates on tonal norms in fourteenth-century song, I suggest what the tonal norms of the jeu-parti might have been. I also consider the problems of applying the model of norms and deformations to a corpus whose melodies can be agonistically and, on occasion, violently divided.  

Week 8, November 30th, Andreas Janke, University of Hamburg: 

Revisiting the tradition of late-medieval Florentine song: shedding multispectral light on Trecento music

Abstract: The Florentine tradition of Trecento song has been investigated intensively based on surviving anthologies and fragments. Without a doubt, the Squarcialupi Codex has received a lot of attention from scholars due to its wide repertorial coverage, unusually large format, and its lavish illuminations. Because of its outstanding appearance it was even regarded as a consciously set endpoint to the tradition of an Italian Ars Nova, with Andrea da Firenze in the role of the “last Florentine.” At the beginning of the 1980s, however, another extensive Florentine anthology was discovered in the Archive of the Chapter of San Lorenzo with the call number 2211 (SL). This manuscript contains not only well-known songs such as the compositions of Jacopo da Bologna or Francesco Landini, it also includes new repertories, which unfortunately have been extremely difficult to read since the manuscript had been recycled as a palimpsest by the end of the fifteenth century.

In this paper, I will present recent research on SL that includes the recovery of the lost music, and the discussion of the works of composers such as Giovanni Mazzuoli, who were considered shadowy figures thus far, since their music was not known. Further, I want to highlight insights into the compiler-scribe of the music manuscript, who most likely was a singer or composer himself. SL is regarded as being compiled contemporaneously with the Squarcialupi Codex, providing an opportunity to compare the different scopes of these anthologies, and to also revisit the role of the Squarcialupi Codex within the tradition of Trecento music. The new material gained from SL enriches our view of secular music and composers at the beginning of the fifteenth century.

Wednesdays at 5pm, tea and coffee served from 4.45pm

Turl Yard Lecture Room, Lincoln College


Week 1 (11 October 2017)

Introductory party!

Various Speakers


Week 2 (18 October 2017)

Lucy Dow (National Maritime Museum)

‘The liquid measure is here given in Scotch; but it can in a minute be reduced into English’: Scottish and English Cookery Books and the Idea of the Nation in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-century Britain.


Week 3 (25 October 2017)

Hamish Roberts (St. Antony’s)

‘Changing Understandings of Time in Late Eighteenth-century Britain: Richard Price, Doctrine, and Revolution’


Week 4 (Tuesday 31 October)

[Please note the change of time and venue: 4pm, Rothermere American Institute]

George Van Cleve (Seattle)

‘The Birth of the American Empire: The Articles of Confederation and the Road to the Constitution’


Week 5 (8 November)

Deb Oxley (All Souls)

‘The Digital Panopticon: The Global Impact of London Punishments’


Week 6 (15 November)

Lydia Hamlett (Cambridge):

‘Myth-making and Mural Painting in Britain, 1680-1730’


Week 7 (22 November)

Hamish Scott (Jesus)

‘The British “Fiscal-Military” State after Thirty Years’


Week 8 (29 November)

George Artley (Lincoln)

‘No Longer The King’s Bench? Sir John Holt, the Common Law, and the Impact of the Glorious Revolution’

Wednesdays, 11.15am-1pm, at the Rees Davies Room in the History Faculty.

[NOTE: Week 8 is jointly organized with the History of War Seminar series. The talk will take place at All Souls, beginning at 5.15pm]

All Welcome!


Week 1 (11 October 2017)

‘Roi de guerre ou Roi de paix?: Louis XV, Europe and the French Monarchy, 1736-1748’

Julian Swann


Week 2 (18 October 2017)

‘From Göttingen to Sri Lanka: The 18th-Century Debate on Elephant Copulation and the Limits of Evidential Credibility’

Avi Lifschitz


Week 3 (25 October)

‘The Court as the World: Refocussing a Nobility on Court Life’

Fabian Persson


Week 4 (1 November)

‘Visual Dissent in the Iberian Empires, 1500-1700’

Giuseppe Marcocci


Week 5 (8 November)

1. ‘Religion in the Armies of the Thirty Years War’

2. ‘Early Modern Amsterdam: The European Market for War-Making’

Ryan Crimmins, Marianne Klerk


Week 6 (15 November)

‘New Materials, Old Conflicts: The Craft of Dyeing in 16th- Century Spain’

Adrianna Catena


Week 7 (22 November)

‘António Vieira and the "Clavis Prophetatum": A Portuguese Fifth Imperialistic Project’

Ana Valdez


Week 8 (Wednesday 29 November)

‘Rebuilding Landscapes, Reconstructing Lives: Brandenburg after the Thirty Years War’

Mary Lindemann

Mondays weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8 at 5.15pm

Weeks 2, 6, 8 at Old Library, Hertford College

Week 4 at St Cross Church, Manor Road

All welcome!


Week 2 (16 October)

Dr Kim Simpson, University of Southampton

Heterogeneous Animals: queer bodies in mid-eighteenth-century fiction by women


Week 4 (30 October) [Note change of venue]

Naomi Tiley and James Howarth (Balliol College Library)

Any given book: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century libraries at Balliol

Archive workshop at Balliol Historic Collections Centre, St Cross Church, Manor Road


Week 6 (13 November)

Graduate Presentations

Dan Sperrin, Lincoln College: Bad Reception: Marcus Aurelius and His Meditations

Helen Brown, Hertford College: "Like a true Coxcomb": Pope as poseur in his self-published letters


Week 8 (27 November)

Professor David Brewer, Ohio State University

What is an Authorial Portrait?


Seminar leaders: Prof. Christine Gerrard, Prof. Abby Williams, Dr Freya Johnston, Prof. Ros Ballaster, Prof. Nicole Pohl, Christy Edwall, Helen Brown, Alex Hardie-Forsyth

Week 2

Christ Church Upper Library, Oxford

Monday 16 October, 5.15pm

Stephen Grant | Collecting Shakespeare: the lives and books of Henry and Emyly Folger

Week 1

Thursday 12 October, 5pm

Oxford Art History Research Seminars (History of Art Lecture Theatre, Littlegate House, St Ebbes)

Revealing Rituals: Early Modern Sculpture before Unveiling | Alison Wright (UCL)

Week 2

Wednesday 18 October, 12:45pm

Economic and Social History Graduate Seminar (Nuffield College, New Road)

‘The long road to Bank of England: characters and diffusion of early central banks, 1401-1694’ | Jacopo Sartori (University of Cambridge),


Week 8

Monday 27 November, 5.30pm

Seminars in the History of Collecting (The Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre, London W1U 3BN)

The collection of Islamic artworks of Ferdinando Cospi (1606-1686) | Federica Gigante (PhD candidate, The Warburg Institute & SOAS)