Space, Place and Image in Early Modern English Literature

Event Date: 
11 May 2017 to 13 May 2017

 

University of Lausanne, Switzerland

 

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Mary Morrissey (University of Reading)
  • Professor Andrew McRae (University of Exeter)

 

Expanding on our ongoing research project on the spatial and visual dimensions of the poetry and prose of John Donne, we are organising a conference seeking to investigate issues of ‘Space, Place and Image in Early Modern English Literature’ (c. 1500-1700).

 

In the wake of the recent visual and spatial turns in literary criticism, we would like to explore how revolutions in social, political and religious practice in the Renaissance have translated into new uses and understandings of space and images in the poetry and prose of the period. The Reformation implied a new geography of faith, a rearrangement of church space, as well as ambivalent attitudes towards visual arts and representations of the divine. Geographical exploration and colonial expansion redefined what had been until then relatively well-established frontiers, while a growing interest in land surveying increasingly focused on the layout and properties of the natural landscape. The political sphere of the court was clearly marked in contrast with other areas of urban and rural life in terms of place but also in terms personal and professional trajectories. Scientific discoveries distorted the shape and size of the known cosmos and, amidst these large-scale upheavals, questions of intimacy and selfhood became increasingly important as individuals distinguished public spaces from private spheres or more intimate communities. The expansion of print technology in the Renaissance revolutionized textual space, while new techniques in the visual arts, exemplified by the introduction of one-point perspective, similarly led to major developments in the way space was apprehended and pictured. Early modern authors were thus writing at a time in which spaces, places and images significantly evolved in the way they were scientifically and aesthetically recorded.

 

We welcome abstracts for 20 minute-papers addressing ways in which early modern English authors engage with the spatial and visual paradigms of their times. Potential subjects may include:

 

  • geography, topography, and travel narratives
  • cartography and astronomy
  • natural landscape and urban environment
  • sacred & profane spaces
  • linear perspective & optics
  • motion, dislocation and confinement
  • visual arts & literary ekphrasis
  • geocriticism and theories of space and place
  • textual space and spatial deixis
  • iconoclasm
  • metaphorical representations of the divine
  • preaching places and spaces

 

We warmly invite you to send your paper title along with a 300-word proposal (in Word format) and a short biography (100 words) containing your academic affiliation to both conference organisers, Sonia.Pernet@unil.ch and Kader.Hegedus@unil.ch, by Monday 19 September 2016.

 

Papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in a collection of essays edited by the organisers. For further information and updates, please visit the event’s website: www.unil.ch/johndonne-space/2017-conference/

 

Submission date for papers: 
19 Sep 2016