The Englishness of English Poetry in the Early Modern Period

Event Date: 
19 May 2016 to 21 May 2016

Université de Strasbourg, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, Université Paris 13

May 2016 – May 2017

This two-part international conference taking place first in Strasbourg (May 19th-21st 2016) and then in Paris (May 2017), will focus on the evolution of English poetry over the early modern period. It will deal with aspects related to form and genre, but also with the material dimension of poems as commodities and the different modes of their circulation, across national borders through embassies and translations. As Nikolaus Pevsner defined the “Englishness” of English art (and more specifically architecture) from its mixed quality, we will try to determine if a specifically English way of thinking of and practicing poetry emerges in the Tudor-Stuart era.


Part One: The Triumph of the Sonnet?

The first part (Strasbourg, May 19th-21st 2016) will bear on 16th- and 17th-century lyric poetry, and ask whether the period can be said to mark the triumph of the sonnet among other poetic modes of expression. Contributions well bear on English poetry and its Classical and early modern Continental sources as they were received in 16th- and 17th-century Europe.


Topics of interests include, but are not limited, to the following

-       The evolution of the lyric, of its themes and forms from the 16th to the 17th century (including the relation of erotic to spiritual poetry)

-       The links between theoretical developments and practice

-       Poetic anthologies, miscellanies and sequences (construction, composition, literary and historical significance)

-       The material production, circulation, performance and/or reading of lyric poems, book history

-       The reception of the Classical and Continental vernacular poetic models of the English sonneteers in mainland Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries

-       The respective degrees of canonicity that have been ascribed to lyric forms in the critical tradition

-       The respective degrees of canonicity that have been ascribed to the Italian, French and English sonnets of the 16th and 17th centuries in the critical tradition

-       Questions related to the editing and publishing of early modern poetic collections in the 21st century

We welcome proposals for 25-minute papers (in English or in French) on the above-mentioned topics for the Strasbourg conference. Please send abstracts of about 250-300 words, together with a short (100-word) bio, to Anne-Valérie Dulac, Laetitia Sansonetti, Rémi Vuillemin and Enrica Zanin at the following address:, by September 25th 2015.

For a more detailed version of this Call For Papers, please go to:

Part Two: Poetry in Circulation

A later call for paper will be issued separately for the second conference (Paris Ouest and Paris 13, May 2017), which will encompass exchanges between England and its closest neighbours, Scotland and Ireland, but also other European or non-European countries, including American colonies and the Eastern world, from the early 1500s to the late 18th century. We already welcome expressions of interest for the themes that will be tackled, such as the transmission of poems as detachable objects (in the system of patronage, as ambassadorial gifts) and their role as transnational vectors of ideology through translation.


Submission date for papers: 
25 Sep 2015