Michaelmas 2018

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Exam Schools, High Street


Wednesdays, 5.00pm


Weeks 3, 4, 5, 6


The 2018 Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures will be given by Professor Margreta de Grazia, Emerita Sheli Z. and Burton X. Rosenberg Professor of the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. Titled 'Shakespeare Without a Life (1564-1616)', the series addresses the fact that until the nineteenth century, Shakespeare had neither a biography nor an archive, and that his only works written in the first person--the sonnets--were not part of the canon. By examining the absence of what would become foundational aspects of Shakespeare scholarship before 1800, this series will argue that other viable priorities were once at work.

Professor de Grazia has co-edited several works on Shakespeare and renaissance culture, and she is the author of Shakespeare Verbatim (Oxford, 1991), which traces the emergence of Shakespeare as a modern author, and Hamlet without Hamlet (Cambridge, 2007), which demonstrates how the modern tradition of psychologizing Hamlet has effaced both the play's and the protagonist's preoccupation with land and entitlement. Professor de Grazia has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and her second book, Hamlet without Hamlet, was awarded both the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize and the Elizabeth Dietz Award.




Week 3 (24 October) Lecture 1: Shakespeare Without a Life

Week 4 (31 October) Lecture 2: Shakespeare's Timeline

Week 5 (7 November) Lecture 3: Sorting Shakespeare's Archive

Week 6 (14 November) Lecture 4: Shakespeare's Dateless Sonnets





Prof. Katherine Ibbett


Maison Française d’Oxford, 2-10 Norham Road


Thursdays, 5.15pm


Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7


Week 1 (11 October)

Will McMorran (QMUL)

'The Marquis de Sade, the 367th Passion, and the Marquise de Gange'


Week 3 (25 October)

Alain Génetiot (Université de Lorraine)

'Le sujet lyrique à l'épreuve de la mystique'


Week 5 (8 November)

Marc Schachter (Durham)

'Brantôme’s Lesbian Philology'


Week 7 (22 November)

Medieval-Early Modern Elements:

Katherine Ibbett (Oxford), Water / Peggy McCracken (Michigan), Fire



Seminar Leaders

Prof Ros Ballaster, Prof Christine Gerrard, Prof Abby Williams, Dr David Taylor, Prof Nicole Pohl, Christy Edwall, Helen Brown, Alex Hardie-Forsyth


Massey Room, Balliol College (except Week 8, in Dept. of Plant Sciences)


Tuesdays, 5.30pm


Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8


All Are Welcome!


Week 2 (16 October)

Professor Paul Goring (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

‘An(other) actor’s library: the case of Charles Macklin’


Week 4 (30 October)

Dr Carmen Casaliggi (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

‘Domestic Cosmopolitanism: Locating émigré identity in Germaine De Staël’s Coppet’


Week 6 (13 November)

Dr Emrys Jones (King’s College, London)

‘"Knowing My Family”: Dynastic Recognition in Eighteenth-Century Celebrity Culture’


Week 8 (27 November)

Stephen A. Harris (Druce Curator of Oxford University Herbaria)

‘Into the Archive’ visit to Dept of Plant Sciences to meet Eighteenth-Century Herbaria

Meet at the main door of Plant Sciences at 5.15pm prompt for access to the building.




Prof. Emma Smith and Prof. Lorna Hutson


Mure Room, Merton College (except Week 7)


Tuesdays, 5.15pm (except Week 7)


Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7


All welcome. Wine and refreshments served.


Week 1 (9th October)

Noel Sugimura (St John’s, Oxford)

‘Milton’s God and his Eighteenth-century Readers’


Week 3 (23rd October)

Raphael Lyne (Murray Edwards, Cambridge)

‘Shakespeare and the Wandering Mind’ [view abstract]


Week 5 (6th November)

Jennifer Richards (Newcastle)

‘Thomas Nashe Off the Page’ [view abstract]


Week 7 (20th November)

Laurie Maguire (Magdalen, Oxford)

‘The Rhetoric of the Page: Reading Blank Space’

Panizzi Lectures 2018, The Knowledge Centre, British Library, 19.00


Downloadable programme:



Raphael Lyne, ‘Shakespeare and the Wandering Mind’

It seems obvious that when we’re watching a Shakespeare play, we should pay attention. When our focus drifts, we risk missing something. However, philosophers and scientists have proposed that our minds do important work while they are wandering. I will argue, with reference to Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V among others, that Shakespeare depicts interesting patterns of attentiveness within his works, and that at times he also creates the opportunity and even the need for the minds of audiences and readers to wander productively.

Jennifer Richards, 'Thomas Nashe off the page'

‘[I]f asked what Nashe “says”’, C. S. Lewis wrote in 1954, ‘we should have to reply, Nothing. He tells no story, expresses no thought, maintains no attitude’. His writing is ‘pure literature’. But is this right? There is no doubt that Nashe is a difficult writer, but do we make his prose more difficult than we need to by focussing on his literary style? This paper shifts attention from the ‘literariness’ of Nashe's style to its performability. It explores Nashe’s involvement in the world of the London theatres, and his attempt to recreate the experience of live performance in his prose, focussing on the remarkable flexibility of his sentences. It also argues that Nashe's wish that a text should have a life off the page is not well served by the recent material turn in literary studies.






Ian Archer, Alexandra Gajda, Steven Gunn and Lucy Wooding


The Breakfast Room, Merton College


Thursdays, 5pm (tea served from 4.45pm)




Suggested preparatory reading follows the titles.


Week 1 (11 October)    

Dr Lucy Wooding (Lincoln College): ‘Inventing the English Bible in the reign of Henry VIII’

Susan Wabuda, ‘“A day after doomsday”: Cranmer and the Bible Translations of the 1530s’, in K. Killeen, H. Smith, R. Willie eds, The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c.1530-1700 (2015), 23-37; Lucy Wooding, ‘From Tudor Humanism to Reformation Preaching’, in P. MacCullough, H. Adlington, E. Rhatigan eds, The Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon (2011), 329-47; Ian Green, ‘The Laity and the Bible in Early Modern England’ in R. Armstrong, T. O Hannrachain eds,   The English Bible in the Early Modern World (2018).


Week 2 (18 October)

Prof Jane Dawson (Univ. of Edinburgh): 'Three Coronations and a Union: 1567, 1590 and 1603’

Michael Lynch, ‘Scotland's first Protestant Coronation: Revolutionaries, Sovereignty and the culture of nostalgia’, in Luuk Houwen ed.,  Literature and Religion in late medieval and early modern Scotland  (2012), 177-207; David Stevenson, Scotland's Last Royal Wedding: the marriage of James VI and Anne of Denmark (1997); Alice Hunt, ‘The Bright Star of the North: James I and his English Coronation’ in M. Twycross, P. King, S. Carpenter and G. Walker eds, Medieval English Theatre 38: The Best Pairt of our Play. Essays presented to John J. McGavin, part II (2017), 22-37.


Week 3 (25 October)

Dr Jitka Stollova (Jesus College): ‘The Face of Tyranny: Richard III after Shakespeare’

Philip Schwyzer, ‘Lees and Moonshine: Remembering Richard III, 1485-1635’, Renaissance Quarterly, 63 (2010), 850–83.


Week 4 (1 November)

Dr Kelsey Jackson Williams (Univ. of Stirling): ‘Antiquarian Curiosities or Priceless Treasures? The Uses of Carved Stones in Early Modern History’

Nigel Llewellyn,  Funeral Monuments in Post-Reformation England (2000), ch. 6; Frits Scholten, Sumptuous Memories: Studies in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Tomb Sculpture (2003), introduction.


Week 5 (8 November)

Jonathan McGovern (Univ. of York): ‘Sheriffs at the Exchequer: The Reform of Shrieval Revenue Collection from 1530-1550’

Matthew Hale, A short treatise touching sheriffs accompts written by the Honourable Sir Matthew Hale (1683), 42-45; Myron C. Noonkester, ‘Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Decline of the Sheriff', The Sixteenth Century Journal 23 (1992), 677-98.


Week 6 (15 November)

Dr Richard Bell (Keble College): ‘Charity, Debt and Social Control in England’s Early Modern Prisons’

Craig Muldrew, The Economy of Obligation: The Culture of Credit and Social Relations in Early Modern England (1998), part 3 (esp. ch. 9); Richard W. Ireland, ‘Theory and Practice within the Medieval English Prison’, The American Journal of Legal History 31/1 (1987), 56–67; Steve Hindle, The State and Social Change in Early Modern England, 1550–1640 (2000), ch. 6.


Week 7 (22 November)

Christopher Gausden (Jesus College): ‘Preaching in the Early Jacobean Chapel Royal: Critiquing a New Regime’

Peter E. McCullough, Sermons at Court: Politics and Religion in Elizabethan and Jacobean Preaching (Cambridge, 1998), ch. 3.

Tara Greig (St Cross College) ‘“But nowe adayes I see fewe hunt the harte as he ought to be hunted”:  The Social and Economic Contexts to Changes in Hunting in Seventeenth-Century England’

James Williams, ‘Sport and the Elite in Early Modern England’ Sport in History 28/3 (2008), 389-413.


Week 8 (29 November)

Dr Edward Legon (Historic Royal Palaces): ‘Sadler Saddled: Reconciliation and Recrimination in a Restoration Parish’

Matthew Neufeld, The Civil Wars after 1660: Public Remembering in Late Stuart England (2013), introduction; David Appleby, ‘The Restoration county community: a post-conflict culture’, in J. Eales, A. Hopper eds, The County Community in Seventeenth-Century England and Wales (2012), 100-24.



Downloadable programme:




Dr Dmitri Levitin and Sir Noel Malcolm


Hovenden Room, All Souls (except Week 1)


Wednesdays, 5.00–6.45pm




Access is via the entrance to the College on the High Street–please ask at the porter’s lodge for further directions, or consult the information at https://www.asc.ox.ac.uk/visiting-the-college.

All very welcome.


Week 1 (10 October)

MARK GOLDIE (Cambridge)

‘John Locke and America’ [Please note alternative venue: Seminar Room 3]


Week 2 (17 October)


‘Persecutors, judges, and defendants: defining libertinage in early seventeenth-century France’


Week 3 (24 October)


‘Secret and privy counsel in early modern England’


Week 4 (31 October)

Mogens Lærke (CNRS, Paris)

'Grotius on Ecclesiastical Counsel and Declarative Rule’


Week 5 (7 November)

SARA MIGLIETTI (Warburg Institute)

‘Contemplation, reflection, and love of God: new perspectives on Jean Bodin’s ethics and theology’


Week 6 (14 November)


‘Montpellier vitalism and vital materialism’


Week 7 (21 November)


‘The archive of Constantijn L’Empereur (1591–1648): a microcosm of Christian Jewish scholarship in seventeenth-century Northern Europe’


Week 8 (28 November)

NOEL MALCOLM (All Souls College, Oxford)

‘Early modern ideas of religion as “imposture”: the case of Islam’


Downloadable programme:




Wednesday 18 October 2017 at 3.00 p.m.
Visit to the THE QUEEN’S COLLEGE and the PEET LIBRARY by kind invitation of the Librarian, Amanda Saville. Places are limited, and those wishing to attend are asked to inform the Secretary at least two days in advance.

Wednesday 23 May 2018 at 3.00 p.m.
Visit to CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE LIBRARY by kind invitation of the Librarian, Joanna Snelling. Places are limited, and those wishing to attend are asked to inform the Secretary at least one week in advance.





Rachael Hodge and Georgina Wilson


English Faculty Seminar Room B


Tuesdays, 5.15pm


Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8



Week 2 (16 October)

Introduction session and welcome drinks. 

All early modern graduate students are warmly invited for the brief introductory session of our graduate forum, followed by free drinks and a chance to meet other early modernists.


Week 4 (30 October)

Beatrice Montedoro: 'What did early modern compilers hope to learn from dramatic extracts?'

Laura Wright: 'Rhetorical sounds and Shakespearean silences'


Week 6 (13 November)

Kate Allan: ‘That instruction, and good counsel, may bee furthered by an honest and pleasant recreation’: George Wither’s Use of the Volvelle in A Collection of Emblemes, Ancient and Modern

Ben Wilkinson-Turnbull: 'Battling the B course: Questions Answered and Fears Alleviated'


Week 8 (27 November)

Fraser Buchanan: 'Imagining Atheism in George Gifford’s Countrie Divinitie’

James Misson: Wax, lead and stone texts: 'Citing materiality with typography in the sixteenth century'



Week 2

Title: First discussion session: Relazioni and diplomatic reporting

Venue: Habbakuk Room, Jesus College

Time: Tuesday, 16 October, 4:30-6:30


Abstract: Next Tuesday (16 October) will mark the beginning of our Network's discussion group. The theme for this session will be "Relazioni and diplomatic reporting". Please read the three following articles in advance of the seminar, which we shall then discuss over tea and biscuits, in a very informal and relaxed atmosphere!

a) Vivo, Filippo de, ‘How to Read Venetian Relazioni’, Renaissance and Reformation 34.1–2 (2011), 25-59: https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/renref/article/viewFile/16167/13129

b) Vivo, Filippo de, ‘Archives of Speech: Recording Diplomatic Negotiation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy’, European History Quarterly, 46.3 (2016), 519-544:


c) Queller, Donald, ‘The Development of Ambassadorial Relazioni’, in John Rigby Hale (ed.), Renaissance Venice, London, 1973, pp. 174-196


Look forward to seeing many of you there!



Week 3

Title: Secretaries and the Persian Cosmopolis in the Making of an Anti-Safavid Diplomatic Discourse

Speaker: Dr Christopher Markiewicz (University of Birmingham)

Venue: Habbakuk Room, Jesus College

Time: Tuesday, 23 October 2018, 4:30-6:30


Abstract: This paper focuses on the role of secretaries in shaping an Ottoman diplomatic discourse on the Ottoman conflicts with the Safavids and Mamluks during the reign of Selim I (r. 1512–20). Understandably, most scholarship on the diplomatic interactions of the Ottoman Sultanate with its eastern neighbours during these years has focused on the exchange of royal letters between the Ottomans and their principal adversaries. Significantly, throughout these years of tumultuous conflict, the Ottoman Sultanate also developed and maintained a much broader correspondence with other eastern polities and prominent notables in an effort to explain and legitimize its campaigns and conquests, to obtain logistical support and intelligence from local allies in Iran, and to initiate military alliances with other major powers designed to bring about a decisive end to the rule of the Safavid shah Ismail (r. 1501–24) in Iran. Crucially, secretaries, and especially Persian émigré secretaries, were central to the realization of these objectives. In their work within the Ottoman chancery, these secretaries drew upon their broad learning and mastery of epistolography (insha) in composing Ottoman royal letters, the form of which contributed significantly to their political or diplomatic function. In composing these documents, these émigré secretaries frequently drew upon decades of administrative experience within courts in Iran and rekindled their trans-imperial networks of scholarly and professional affiliation in an effort to mould a unified international discourse of anti-Safavid opposition and advance the quickly evolving and complex Ottoman ‘eastern policy’.  



Week 4

Title: Second discussion session: Material letters and diplomacy

Date: 30 October 2018, 4:30-6:30 pm

Venue: Ferrar Room, Hertford College

Abstract: We are pleased to inform you that the theme for our second discussion session will be “Material letters and diplomacy”. Please read the three following articles in advance of the seminar, which we shall then discuss over tea and biscuits, in a very informal and relaxed atmosphere!

a) Jonathan Gibson, ‘Significant Space in Manuscript Letters’, The Seventeenth Century, 12 (1997), 1–10:


b) Giora Sternberg, “Epistolary Ceremonial: Corresponding Status at the Time of Louis XIV”, Past and Present, 204 (2009), 33–88;

c) Heather Wolfe, “‘Neatly sealed, with silk, and Spanish wax or otherwise:’ The Practice of Letter-locking with Silk Floss in Early Modern England,” in In Prayse of Writing: Early Modern Manuscript Studies, ed. Steven W. Beal and S. P. Cerasano (London, 2012), 169–189.

Look forward to seeing many of you there!


Link: https://earlymoderndiplomacyevents.wordpress.com/2018/10/13/second-discussion-group-material-letters-and-diplomacy/


Week 5


Title: Diplomatic Correspondence Networks and the Progress of Scientific Knowledge: Luigi Lorenzi and the Spread of the Practice of Smallpox Inoculation in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany

Speaker: Ruggero Sciuto (University of Oxford)

Venue: Habbakuk Room, Jesus College

Time: Tuesday, 6 November 2018, 4:30-6:30



Over the past decades, many scholars have sought to trace how smallpox inoculation was first introduced in Europe and to analyse its tremendous socio-political impact. Indeed, academics are well aware of the extraordinary influence that works such as Voltaire’s Lettre sur l’insertion de la petite vérole or La Condamine’s Mémoires sur l’inoculation de la petite vérole had on the eighteenth-century French public sphere. However, much remains to be said on the dense web of interpersonal relations that ensured the circulation of these major works and magnified their impact.

Using unpublished sources from the personal archives of Luigi Lorenzi, resident minister to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from 1735 to 1765, my paper will insist on the crucial role played by diplomatic correspondence networks in spreading the practice of smallpox inoculation across Europe. I shall argue that Lorenzi encouraged the adoption of this medical practice in at least three different ways, namely by ensuring the circulation of La Condamine’s Mémoires and letters across the Italian peninsula, by attracting international attention to the experiments conducted by Tuscan doctors, and by leveraging his status as resident minister of a powerful country to render smallpox inoculation fashionable among the Florentine élites. By thus emphasising Lorenzi’s role in championing smallpox inoculation, I also aim to cast light on the oft-underestimated importance of early modern diplomats in furthering the progress of scientific and medical knowledge, a topic which, in spite of its undeniable interest, has been left almost completely unexplored to date.

Link: https://earlymoderndiplomacyevents.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/ruggero-sciuto-university-of-oxford-diplomatic-correspondence-networks-and-the-progress-of-scientific-knowledge-luigi-lorenzi-and-the-spread-of-the-practice-of-smallpox-inoculation-in-the-grand/


Week 7

Title: Helmer Helmers (University of Amsterdam) – ‘Cold War. Dutch Public Diplomacy in the Truce Period, 1609-1621’
Date: 20 November 2018, 4:30-6:30 pm
Venue: Ferrar Room, Hertford College


In 1609, with the help of French and English mediation, the United Provinces and Spain concluded a twelve-years Truce. The Truce period which followed is usually studied by Dutch historians in a rather parochial fashion, with much emphasis on the religious conflicts between Remonstrants and Contraremonstrants, and the temporary public sphere which this brought about. While this is very important, it obfuscates just how disturbing this twelve years' deal was on the international level, and how profound its impact on international relations.

Hugo Grotius famously said that a truce was nothing more than a slumber of war. In the words of Timothy Hampton, a truce is a hybrid event, which simultaneously involves an end to violence and a continuation of the state of war by other means. This paper seeks to analyse this war by other means by focusing on two weapons with which the Dutch now fought on the international stage: diplomacy and the political press. Both were developed with tremendous energy, and combined, they contributed significantly to the rising tensions in Europe. The Truce was a cold war in which the two largest armies in Europe were anxiously watching each other, and like the Cold War of the 20th century, it led to a culture of fear and anticipation, to a climate of conspiracy theories, and to a hardening of ideological conflict that does much to explain the intensity of the domestic religious troubles. While hostilities ceased in the Low Countries themselves, and could in theory have lessened tensions in Europe, the Truce actually exacerbated confessional divides: the tension, the violence, the propaganda, and last but not least the soldiers, were exported abroad, to the Rhineland, to London, to France, to Bohemia. No development in European international relations, from the succession conflict in Julich to the Spanish match, could be separated from that single question that would shake English politics to its foundations in the early 1620s: Spain or The Netherlands?

Link: https://earlymoderndiplomacyevents.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/helmer-helmers-university-of-amsterdam-cold-war-dutch-public-diplomacy-in-the-truce-period-1609-1621/





Dr Margaret Bent


Wharton Room, All Souls, (except Week 8, in the Hovenden Room)


Thursdays 5 –7 p.m. (except Week 8, on Tuesday)


Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8


All are welcome. 


Week 2 (Oct 18)
Antonio Chemotti (HERA Project SoundMe - Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw):
‘Musical past and regionalism in early modern Silesia: the hymnbook of Valentin Triller’


Week 4 (Nov 1)
Elizabeth Eva Leach (University of Oxford):
‘The motets of Douce 308: evidence for a more extensive monophonic tradition?’


Week 6 (Nov 15)
Margaret Bent (All Souls College):
‘The contents and provenance of the fragmentary royal choirbook of the 1420s: an update’


Week 8 (Tuesday Nov 27, Hovenden Room)
Elena Abramov van Rijk (Jerusalem):
‘The non-Italian Ars nova, or how to read the madrigal Povero Zappator by Lorenzo da Firenze’





Antonio Chemotti, ‘Musical past and regionalism in early modern Silesia: the hymnbook of Valentin Triller’

Always a borderland territory, Silesia was a meeting point for different ethnic groups, cultures, and confessions. In the 16th-century, most of the Silesian estates turned to the Reformation, but remained subjected to the Catholic Habsburgs, who ruled over Silesia as kings of Bohemia. Tolerance between the Lutheran and Catholic parties, caused by mutual dependence, existed side by side with confessional conflicts within the Evangelical church, stirred by the strong presence of radical spiritualist movements. Notwithstanding its multicultural and multiconfessional character, Silesia developed a strong territorial and ideological cohesion. This peculiar situation influenced artistic practices, among them music. In my contribution, I will focus on one specific musical source, Ein Schlesich [!] singebüchlein, edited by the Lutheran pastor Valentin Triller, and published in Wrocław, the ‘capital city’ of Silesia, in 1555. Curiously, the hymnbook avoids the usual ‘Lutheran’ hymn repertoire, and instead relies on a more peculiar and markedly retrospective repertoire. I will argue that the characteristics of the hymnbook’s paratexts and content are representative of a specific Silesian ‘regionalism’ (intended as regional consciousness), and they mirror the theological debate within the Silesian evangelical church.  Analysis of the polyphonic hymns will also serve to address the reasons behind the survival of ‘archaic’ repertoires (a common phenomenon also in other central European regions), the ways of their circulation beyond borders and confessions, and their role in shaping religious and regional identities.


Elizabeth Eva Leach, ‘The motets of Douce 308: evidence for a more extensive monophonic tradition?’

This paper, which is work-in-progress, considers the 63 motets collected in Oxford Bodleian Library, Douce 308. Most have refrains, often split between the opening and closing lines of the motet text, and all are presented without musical notation or any indication of tenors. Where concordances exist, the texts of D308 are invariably in motetus parts, but the concordances also make Douce 308 a unique witness to a mixture of material from the mainstream polyphonic motet tradition and the otherwise unique monophonic 'motets entés' of Trouvère MS N. This paper will propose that more motets known today only in polyphonic version may have had origins as monophonic motets. It will consider what the lost monophonic motet repertoire might have looked like and ask how the motet repertory might have come to be so largely polyphonic given this possible origin in monophonic, refrain-related, material.


Margaret Bent, ‘The contents and provenance of the fragmentary royal choirbook of the 1420s: an update’

In articles published since the 1970s, I have gradually pieced together what remains of a royal choirbook of the 1420s. New fragments have turned up periodically, including some so far unpublished. Where the fragments could be related to book bindings which inadvertently ensured their survival, the binder was the early-16th-century Cambridge stationer Nicholas Spierinck. There are now 18 leaves or partial leaves, with parts of 32 or 33 compositions. The main criteria for linking them were the presence of one of two principal scribes, and the unusual high-quality monochrome initials, some with human or animal figuration, including lions and an antelope favoured by the Lancastrians, which point to royal patronage, possibly by the younger brothers of Henry V: John Duke of Bedford or Humphrey Duke of Gloucester or their stepmother Queen Joan. Some pieces were copied into the main body of the manuscript directly from additions to the Old Hall manuscript, probably while that book was still in use in the chapel of the infant Henry VI, because the new copies were made before corrections were made to the Old Hall versions. Considerable overlaps with Old Hall, and a very similar overall arrangement, also point to a royal provenance. I will assess the repertory, which gives some prominence to Dunstaple, who is present in Old Hall only as an anonymous later addition. I will show how the fragments are linked, including some later additions, and suggest a possible route for the manuscript’s final destination in Cambridge. I will also revise my proposed dating of Old Hall, to which the fragmentary choirbook gives some context.


Elena Abramov van Rijk, ‘The non-Italian Ars nova, or how to read the madrigal Povero Zappator by Lorenzo da Firenze’

The term Ars Nova taken in a larger sense is often used to label the European professional music of the fourteenth century, separating it from the music of the previous period, the so called Ars Antiqua. The notion Ars Nova perfectly fits the music of the fourteenth-century French composers, but it becomes fairly problematic in attempts to apply it to the Italian contemporary music. In Italy were practically absent the most salient characteristics of the French Ars Nova music, as for the genres, the musical techniques and the use of the verbal text. For that reason, in order to define the Italian music from the 1340s to the first three decades of the fifteenth century, the term Trecento is in use, even though formally the phenomenon in question is not precisely coinciding with the temporal limits of the fourteenth century.

French Ars nova motets and French theoretical treatises, which discussed the new art of composition and notation, were well known in Italy, as several examples of them transmitted in Italian manuscripts testify. However, neither the theory nor the compositions by themselves prompted the Italians to adopt this style as a model to follow. The French isorhythmic technique, however, was used in two madrigals: Lorenzo da Firenze’s Povero zappator and Francesco Landini’s Sì dolce non sonò [col lir Orfeo]. Evidently, Landini’s madrigal honours Philippe de Vitry, so that the use of the isorhythmic technique in it is conceptually well justified. What then could have been the reason to use the isorhythmic technique even in a more sophisticated way in the madrigal Povero zappator, written by Lorenzo da Firenze, or Lorenzo Masini, the elder colleague of Landini in the St. Lorenzo church in Florence? The poetic text of this madrigal, unlike that of Landini’s Sì dolce non sonò, tells about a lone sailor in tempestuous sea. It did not attire much attention of scholars. However, as we will see, this text, which at first glance appears to be an ingenuous poem typical of the Trecento musical madrigals, is not only the clue about the understanding of Lorenzo’s intentions, but in a larger perspective it discloses the perception by the Italian Trecento musicians of the musical thinking of their transalpine colleagues.